The Five For Freedom Defeat Jotun
MK1, near Calais, France. 1941
Super Human Law Enforcement in America: A Brief History
Throughout it's history, America has welcomed those with great talent and even greater dreams to come make a home on our shores, and use them as they see fit to the betterment of themselves, their community, and mankind. Among the teeming masses of gifted and hopeful immigrants, there have always been a few who are gifted beyond the normal pale of humanity, with powers and abilities far above those of their fellow mortals. In the old country, they may have been seen as heroes, or wizards, or saints, or monsters, or gods. In America, they have always been citizens, tremendously gifted, yes, but as free and equal as anyone else who breathes free within our borders. While their legends grew with their deeds, they were, at the heart, simply Americans.
Since gaining independence, America had it's share of unusually gifted citizens. Names like John Henry, "Pecos" Bill O'Shea, Nathan Crow, Solomon Guilder, Joseph Magarac, Ellie Jones Hart, Sgt. Jim Preston, Noriko Takeda, and a host of others spring to mind. As time went on, more and more of these remarkable individuals arose to take their place in the tapestry of American life.
The age of super powers began in earnest in the early 1940's, as groups of these gifted individuals formed freelance organizations like The Five for Freedom or The American Aces and set out to Europe to involve themselves in the fighting of WWII. Their successes, and the growing threat of enemy research in all areas of genetics, robotics, bionics, and the occult, caused Congress to take two important measures when the U.S. offically entered the war in 1942. The freelance super squads were incorporated into the War Department, becoming special military units, and The Olympus Project was initiated, to research and develop super powered agents for the Allied cause. This caused the quickening of the proliferation of super powered humans as well as emergent sentients resulting from genetics and robotics research. Soon, each branch of the military had it's own growing team of super powered fighters.
At the close of the World War, and the initiation of the Cold War between the West and the Soviets, research and development continued unabated, as well as the worldwide population growth of super powered individuals and non-human sentients. This resulted in a rise in crimes comitted by super powered criminals, as well as acts of rebellion by otherwise law abiding super humans who feared increasing encroachment on their individual rights now that their role in national defense wasn't as clear cut. The military controlled super teams were seeing more action domestically in a law enforcement context, facing their fellow super beings in terrifying battles on the streets of our cities.
In an effort to solve the problems of private citizens posessing unusual and sometimes dangerous powers, the Baily Super Humans Act was passed by overwhelming majority in both the House and Senate in 1954. This act set up a registration system for super powers, and provided full protection of the rights of citizens posessing them. Committing crimes with super powers became a felony offense, and posession of such abilities without registering them could be a misdemeanor to a felony depending on the scope and possible danger of the powers in question. This legislation served the dual purpose of assauging public fears of a super powered rebellion, and making America a very desirable place for super powered individuals to immigrate to from around the world.
Years later, America's place as a haven for those with enhanced abilities and different origins would be further cemented by the 28th and 29th Amendments to our Constitution, which granted full human rights and legal protection to all sentient beings capable of taking the oath of citizenship (which included artificial intelligences, emergent intellects resulting from mutation or creation in research labs, and immigrant extraterrestrials and extradimensional beings.)
It was during this period that America's most famous super powered team, The Crusaders, was formed. Founded by surviving members of The Five for Freedom, The Crusaders were a high profile team under the control of the Department of Defense. Their primary mission was ostensibly defense of America, but they frequently took part in operations against super criminals and other rescue or law enforcement situations. The Crusaders' history is long and illustrious, lasting over thirty years and encompassing the careers of many of the super powered community's best and brightest.
As the organization aged, it began to come into conflict with super powered elements of the counter culture as the 1960's and 1970's ran their course. Conflicts of interest began to arise, as it became clear that a Defense Department run team had less and less relevance in domestic law enforcement. Due to growing negative public perception, and administrative conflicts within the government over the team's role, The Crusaders were dissolved in 1979.
Into their shoes stepped the Department of Justice's Lawmen Agency in 1981, as a new prototype for super powered law enforcement based on an FBI/Police model rather than a military structure. This team, composed of former Crusaders and new recruits, went on to distinguish themselves as a crime busting and rescue team over the next decade.
The close of the 1980's saw turbulent times in the super powered world, resulting from a sudden population rise of super powered citizens and a proposed tightening of the Baily Act. The resources of the Lawmen team were being spread increasingly thin, and confrontations with super teams and independent vigilanties, operating outside the law, were on the rise.
Eventually, the revisions to the Baily Act were defeated in the Supreme Court, and The Lawmen Agency underwent a metamorphosis into the prototype for the B.A.S.E. program. The Lawmen team was split up to become the bureau cheifs of the various proposed B.A.S.E. offices, a capacity in which they serve to this day. Many freelancers and independant super teams were co-opted into this new civilian structure. It was also at this time that The Olympus Project, which had been going strong for 50 years, was terminated, and it's resorces were re-channeled from R&D to training. The B.A.S.E. Training Academy officially opened on the Titan Flats test site in New Mexico in 1992, and it's first class of graduates went on duty in 1995. The first B.A.S.E regional offices were opened in New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Chicago in 1995, with expansion offices in Boston, Seattle, St. Louis, and Miami opening in 1997.
Since then, there have been two more classes of Titan Flats graduates, and more young super powered beings are volunteering to serve. It is a testimony to the success of the program, and the unique way the United States welcomes those who would be as great as they may be with what has been given them.
The following is a capsule profile of various influential team ups of super powered individuals on boths sides of the law. While there were numerous other supporting organizations, criminal gangs, and partnerships, the teams detailed below are the best known instances of individual super powered beings of equal status forming up on a permanent basis to further their particular agendas. There are currently no other sanctioned super teams operating in America outside of B.A.S.E., and short of small scale team ups, there have been no known permanent associations of super criminals operating since the breakup of The Predators in 1987. Certain trends are being closely watched, however.
THE AMERICAN ACES : THE FIVE FOR FREEDOM : THE CRUSADERS : THE LAWMEN AGENCY : THE OLYMPUS PROJECT
THE FIEND CLUB : THE S.S.S. : THE SUPER SYNDICATE : THE PREDATORS
THE WHOLE EARTH SQUADRON : THE SAN DIEGO SEVEN : THE VIGILANTES
THE AMERICAN ACES
A team of American mercenary pilots who flew unsanctioned missions in Europe in the early part of World War II, prior to the official United Stated declaration of war, similar to the actions of Chenault's Flying Tigers in the far East. Small in number, the group concealed their identities using masks and cryptic call signs, and flew a unique assortment of specially modified fighter planes. It is known that they had at least two super powered pilots in their ranks. The group was attached to the U.S. Army Air Corps when the United States joined the war in earnest in 1942. The driving force behind the Aces was American millionaire, aviator, and inventor Benjamin Overton (a.k.a Ace of Diamonds), who supplied most of the group's funding and technolgy. Surviving veterans from the American Aces were pivotal in forming the Air Force's special UCF Teams.
THE FIVE FOR FREEDOM
A group of super powered individuals who formed a special freelance commando force intended to fight the Axis powers in the early days of World War II. The initial roster of the Five was composed of The Dynamo, Sky Hawk, Mr. Mystery, The Dart, and The She-Devil.The group ran covert missions on behalf of the United States and Britain, and publicly battled super powered agents of the Axis throughout the European theater of the war.When the U.S. declared war in 1942, the team became the first officially government sanctioned super powered team in U.S. history. This allowed the Five a much greater span of operation, as they now had the support of the Allied armed forces backing them up. Following VE day in 1945, the group turned their attention to the Pacific theater, where they made comparably little impact beyond propaganda for the Allies. With the war over, the team dedicated themselves to domestic crime fighting. After a strong early start, the group faced more and more controversy and resistance, resulting in their investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1953, but were cleared of any suspicion after a drawn out series appearances on capitol hill which took it's toll on all of them, but had the positive effect of laying the groundwork for the Baily Super Humans Act to be passed the following year. The Five weathered these trials and were regaining their regard in the public eye when they were struck by the catastrophic deaths of The Dynamo and The She Devil at the hands of the super criminalTyphon in 1955, and the unsolved disappearance of Mr. Mystery shortly afterward. The surviving members of the Five, saddened but toughened by the ordeals they'd undergone, went on to form the nucleus of their group's sucessor, The Crusaders.
THE OLYMPUS PROJECT
Not so much a super team as a research and development lab located in the deserts of New Mexico at Titan Flats, where many super powered agents were developed for the military and for civilan law enforcement. Founded at the height of World War II, the Olympus Project drew the finest minds from around the world, as well as several not of this world, with the purpose of combatting the advances made by the Axis. The Project enjoyed the full support of the U.S. government throughout the cold war, but with the fall of the Berlin Wall, changes in American policy caused the venerable think tank to close it's doors in 1992. Titan Flats was saved from mothballing by the B.A.S.E. program. It had traditionally served as a training facility for volunteer super agents as well as those originating through the Olympus Project, and thus it was allowed to continue in this role to the present.
Formed in 1958 by survivors of The Five For Freedom with a Presidential order and full support from Congress. Founding members Dart and Sky Hawk recruited three new charter members, Dr. Density, Whirlwind, and Green Devil, to bring their numbers up to the familiar five man team they'd operated in during the war. The Crusaders rapidly grew to a very extensive organization of super powered agents, commanded by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, operating as a civilian branch of the regular military super powered teams. The group mainly dealt with national security matters and super powered crime, and became the destination of choice for American citizens who sought to use their powers for the public good. Membership was by invitation only, and The Crusaders had a lot of competition from growing numbers of independant crime fighters and small groups operating across America. The growing unwieldiness of the organization, and changes to the nature of super powered law enforcement forced the Crusaders Tower in Washington D.C. to close it's doors for good in 1979.
THE FIEND CLUB
A "gentlemans club" founded in 1935 that played host to some of the most infamous criminal masterminds and madmen of the day, headquartered in a secret location that changed location anually, but mainly operated on the East Coast. Counting such notables as Bleach, The Black Skull, Mr. Mephistopheles, The Shark, Dr. Lupus, and a rogues gallery of hoods and murderers who worked for the "Ways and Means Comittee", it was the first recorded assembly of super human criminals acting in concert in the 20th. Century. They were opposed by numerous independent crime fighters, but were finally disbanded in 1948 by The Five For Freedom. A revival of The Fiend Club was attempted in 1976 headed by The Arachnid and Sleepwalker, but was quickly brought to justice by the declining Crusaders organization, showing the latter day pretenders' weakness compared to the Club's heyday in the 40's.
THE SUPER SYNDICATE
A post war outgrowth of the mafia of the 40's, that developed super human talent on behalf of organized crime while most American super human agents were busy in Europe and the Pacific. The Syndicate actually managed to field a sizeable team of super powered enforcers in the 1950's, capitalizing on the troubled times The Five For Freedom were undergoing. The last Super Syndicate was disbanded in 1961 after a long decline beginning in 1958, from constant battles with the newly formed Crusaders, as well as conflicts with independant super crimefighters, and super criminal solos or gangs who didn't wish to be controlled by the dons of the various crime families.
THE WHOLE EARTH SQUADRON
A team of super powered activists who formed in New York City in the late 1960's, in protest to the conflict in Viet Nam and increasing social pressure on super powered individuals in America. Their main roster consisted of Jack Flash, Captain Underground, Jim Purple, Psychedlia, Subject Delta, The Arhat, and Champ The Dog. They moved their operations to Washington D.C. in 1970, and agitated for a stop to the war, relaxation of The Baily Act, and the addition of a Constitutional amendment to allow citizenship for non-human sentients, some of whom were included in the group's roster. They also made a point of fighting crime and protecting protestors and minorities from violence, to show they were loyal citizens and believers in the American ideal. While they clashed frequently with The Crusaders, they managed to maintain a positive public image, and managed to avoid doing serious jailtime. The group disbanded in 1973 and several members have since become officers in the B.A.S.E. program.
THE SAN DIEGO SEVEN
Cited by some historians as the dark reflection of The Whole Earth Squadron, the San Diego Seven formed on the West Coast around the charismatic figure of a super powered student agitator known as The Jester, a year after the WES appeared on the scene. The Jester recruited six other young, disaffected super powered individuals to aid him in his battle against the establishment: Midnight, The Target, The Osprey, Aquarius, Nova Girl, and The Freak.The group was much more anarchist in nature than their bretheren in Washington D.C., and became increasingly violent in their later days, clashing with independant super crime fighters and The Crusaders, as well as finding themselves on the wanted lists of national law enforcement. This trend toward violence lost more moderate members like The Osprey or The Target by 1970, and culminated in the murder of The Jester at the hands of two of his disciples, Aquarius and Nova Girl, in 1977. The two murderers went on to become the super criminals Blackshark and Salamander. The demoralized remnants of the group turned themselves in and retired after their prison terms had been served out.
An ugly revival of the super powered Axis propaganda teams deployed in WWII that formed from surviving agents and decendents of several infamous war criminals. The team practiced sedition and racial agitation during the 1960's civil rights era, but eventually evolved into just another super powered criminal gang. The S.S.S. was decisively smashed in 1969 by The Crusaders, with an assist from The Whole Earth Squadron in New York City. Most of the groups members are dead, with the exception of Blitzkreig Mk. 7 and The Doppelganger, whose wherabouts are unknown, and The Black Eagle, a victim of electronic brainwashing who was successfully deprogrammed by government psychologists and has taken advantage of the F.B.I.'s Witness Protection Program.
A violent, nihilistic band of super powered criminals, who embarked on a murderous, multi-state rampage in 1984 starting in New York City, and finally ending in the bloody Battle of Toledo, where the newly formed Lawmen Agency came into it's own, with the help the U.S. Army's Hercules Team and numerous independent super powered crime fighters. Civilian and law enforcement casualties left in the ravagers' wake numbered in the hundreds. The Predator's were led by The Raptor and Hellhound, with a roster of violent psychopaths that included Mantis, Blackshark, Leatherback, Shuriken, The Lynx, and The Death Machine. Surviving members are currently serving multiple life sentences in high security prisons or are institutionalized. Their defeat was a phyrric triumph for super powered law enforcement, as the resulting social backlash caused the Baily Act to be re-considered in Congress, and an overall crackdown on super powered individuals in general.
A group composed of independent super powered crime fighters who left their respective cities to form a protest against crackdowns from a proposed tightening of the Baily Act in 1987. Up until then, independents and small groups had been allowed to fight crime on a local level largely unmolested, unless they acted in flagrant defiance of the law, and many vigilantes enjoyed the indulgence of their local police forces, in spite of the official position of being against vigilante action. Several controversial cases, most notably The Predators' rampage in 1984, led to a growing public distrust of super powers, and increased pressure from the government to curtail the independents. Facing this, several of them organized into The Vigilantes, which fought crime outside official channels and came into conflict with the government sanctioned Lawmen. A final confrontation occurred at the National Mall in Washington D.C., with former independent The Darkness playing a key role in diffusing the standoff amicably. More and more independents had been approached by The Lawmen for potential membership in a new concept known as B.A.S.E., and this, along with the defeat of the amendments to the Baily Act by the Supreme Court, allowed The Vigilantes to disband peacefully in 1990.
THE LAWMEN AGENCY
A special team of super powered agents, formed in 1981 by the Department of Justice to fill the shoes of the defunct Crusaders organization. A main point of difference between this team and their predecessors was they were an official law enforcement agency, rather than a spinoff of the Department of Defense. Following the Vigilantes conflict in the late eighties, the group metamorphosed into the foundation of the B.A.S.E. organization. The Lawmen's original roster was composed of Matter Man, Polymorph, TheTank, Prodigy, Astro Girl, Titan, and The Gecko, with later additions of C1 and The Darkness, all of whom have become senior officers in the B.A.S.E heirarchy.