"Thundermachine to New York City. The hostage situation is under control. I couldn't have done it without your support. Stay great, and tell someone you love 'em today."
That marked seven-hundred and twenty days in a row that Carter Jove had sent out such a message to punctuate some fantastic feat completed in the legendary red-and-gold armor. Today it had been a particularly harrowing crisis in a local high-rise involving two captives and what seemed to be some sort of political radical threatening to blow the entire building to Hell.
Whoever they were, they hadn't counted on Thundermachine himself bursting up through the floor and instantly disabling the remote detonator with a VR-assisted glance. When the rebel turned a handgun on his victims, all it'd taken was a metal-jacketed jab to the forehead to put an end to the threat. The revolutionary was in police custody with a major concussion, and Jove had taken to social media to report the mission's success. The moment it had hit the news cycle, he knew it had to be handled promptly.
That was what he was best at: keeping the Big Apple safe. His team at X-Tech reported a continuation in declining crime rates, even though he never really targeted street-level muggers - not when the average excursion cost around $20,000 overall. All things considered, the Machine was extremely cost-effective given its capabilities; most fighter jets couldn't land in a person's apartment and knock out a terrorist with a fist, saving money on ammunition in the process. Plus, no lost lives.
It was the perception that he would stop muggings that prevented them from happening. Jove considered himself one of the United States' greatest "living deterrents," as he'd come to think of his super-powered compatriots. Sentient bioweapons; nukes with social security numbers; super-soldiers; whatever you called them, the impact of Biotic Agents, both government-sanctioned and private, had changed the game. They were living in the Super Century now.
"Hermes, take me along a standard flyby route. Give the people a barrel roll or two, he spoke over the comm, the message received back at X-Tech. "Roger that, Mr. Jove," came the standard response, but Carter could detect the smile on the other end.
Hermes Bell was his top aide and chief engineer of the original Project Thundermachine design team. Bell knew the armor better than anyone, and nobody was more suited to pilot it by remote. Shifting into drone-configuration, Carter let his muscles relax as his best friend took over from behind a computer console. Spinning dramatically around a skyscraper, he felt his hand raise gently to wave at the civilians below, moved like a puppet by the techs back at the lab.
That was fine; he was browsing a dating app instead, the HUD in his helm flashing up profiles as his armored body executed an Immelmann Turn around the Empire State building. The courts had ruled that the Thundermachine device was not in fact a vehicle, and though there had been threats of overturning that ruling in the past, it meant that he was free to soar between skyscrapers to his heart's content. Of course, it was all calculated for maximum exposure, but still...it was fun.
"Any word from our boy in DC?" he asked idly, using his eyes to swipe left, left, left, right.
"The Odin situation seems to have quieted down again. There haven't been any...protests...for the past few days," Hermes said nervously, biting his lip. The self-appointed "Protector of the People" had been drawing more and more scrutiny lately, and it seemed that most citizens were demanding a "team-up" of sorts between Jove and the masked man that often floated around the Washington Monument.
Whatever deal had been struck between Homeland Security and Odin seemed to put the populace at ease, but Carter and his team at X-Tech were much less trusting of the white-clad sentinel. For starters, he was an instigator, known for his extended critiques of the status quo. The bully pulpit had become the superhero pulpit, and he was known for using it to piss people off, unlike Thunder.
Secondly, his technology was unlike anything they'd ever seen - maybe even biotic. Hermes had continually floated the notion that he was a Gene-Weapon, a modified man with superpowers. That struck Carter as likely, but he'd never gotten close enough to scan Odin. He had half a feeling that one of those floating eyeballs would knock him out of the sky the moment he entered Washington airspace.
Normally a no-fly zone, but not to supers. Privileges of power.
ONE NEW MATCH! his HUD flared, accompanied by a tiny heart. Using the suit's tech to isolate her location (evil when the government does it, sweet when it's Carter Jove), he felt a wry smile tug at his lips. Chrysler building - he could work with that.
"That's good, man. Tell the rest of the crew they did a great job today. I'm taking X-Tech out to Dorsia to celebrate," he said with a smile, dismissing the dating app with three rapid blinks. He could hear a few cheers in the background from the scientists. "Hermes, I'm switching back to manual. Going to say hello to tonight's date before bringing Thundermachine back to the hangar."
Soaring by her window, he gave a rapid wave, confirming that the profile hadn't been a fake. All of the uncertainty of what philosophers had dubbed the Super Century faded in that one moment, when her blue eyes met his glowing lenses. No more super-industrial complex, ultrahuman coups, or World War III to be concerned with; no more Odin and his watchful eyes hovering over Washington. Just him and the girl. He closed the comm.
"End of the Western World? Please," he scoffed, looping away to land the armor back at X-Tech. "I'm Thundermachine. Bring it on."
In this world, genetic engineering and technological innovation have led to the rise of super-humans, science-empowered men and women who rise above the rest of society for good or ill. With outstanding abilities that stretch the limits of imagination, these daring characters have already had an immense impact on the day-to-day lives of humanity. Distinct factions have begun to emerge, all based on the responses the general population has had to these advancements.
Governments have been quick to mobilize, seizing gene-patents in a rushed attempt to regulate superpowers. Rather than sanction metahuman abilities, for example, Homeland Security has taken the more active approach of drafting metas into their own publicly-funded strike force known as the Freedom Brigade, a metahuman squad specializing in counter-terrorism and espionage operations. They appear to be moving more and more into the realm of anti-vigilante activity with a focus on accountability to the general public. Though some consider the Brigade to be an enormous waste of taxpayer resources, their track record of dealing with extranormal crises is cause for celebration. Many of their members enjoy celebrity status. They are comprised mostly of biotic beings, people whose abilities come from their augmented genetics. Despite the ease with which they operate, they are entirely constrained by the law and can engage threats only when under the supervision of their military commanders.
The private sector has been dominated not by genetic engineering but by technological innovation. The rise of X-Tech under the leadership of Carter Jove (AKA Thundermachine) has provided scientists who do not wish to have their work seized by governments with steady funding and a haven for creativity, all with the support of their red-and-gold flagship hero. Though X-Tech has been criticized for its corporate leanings, there can be no doubt that it is the most directly philanthropic organization in the world, devoting the bulk of its technological output to supporting Jove's superhero operations. Known for transparency and charity, he is the personable face of the secretive X-Tech. Rumor has it that he's gathering a group of his own to step in where the government can't - or won't.
Independent of either group are the shadowy Strangers, the colloquial term for those who operate outside of the public eye. These heroes have secret identities and undefined powers, giving them an air of mystery and uncertainty about their motives. Both Homeland Security and X-Tech monitor their activities with great scrutiny, as their state-level interventions make them a threat to the government's authority. Escalating tensions between the Strangers and the Freedom Brigade as well as international incidents are prompting more and more worry about the onset of global metahuman conflict, resulting in a great deal of pressure for those who operate without oversight to surrender their identities and autonomy to their governments. The chief example of such a Stranger is Odin, a hero of the people to some, and a political agitator to others. Both his identity and the source of his powers are unknown to the general public, making him the exemplary Stranger-type. Though fully autonomous, the Strangers are often feared and can work only with their own resources.
Interestingly, the rise of super-humans has also influenced those without spectacular powers in...unexpected ways. Prompted to emulate those with fantastic abilities, some normal humans attempt to don flashy costumes of their own and engage street-level crime using home-built gadgets, martial arts training, or in some cases, just a lot of guns. This classification of "superhero" has both the highest casualty rate and the lowest effectiveness rate, sometimes even bungling government ops in their efforts to rise above mere "normie-ness." Without the genetic augmentation of the Freedom Brigade, the superior technology of X-Tech, or the occult abilities of the Strangers, this nameless group is always one misstep away from hosting another funeral.
OOC and RULES
- Standard Rules Apply
- Genre is modern superhero epic. This RP will be a persistent universe in the sense that it will go on throughout the early part of the "Super Century" when these types of beings first appeared in the public spotlight.
- Recommendation is that users use a character look from Western superhero media (i.e. Iron Man, as I'm doing for Thundermachine) to construct a character off of, in order to emulate and deconstruct the associated ideas. Anime / tumblr-esque fan art or cosplay would clash with the overall genre, so superhero fiction is better to select from.
- Recommended reading for looks would be Ultimates, Ultimates 2, Jupiter's Circle, the Boys, the Authority, Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Black Summer, Pax Americana, and general DC / Marvel fare.
- Powers and abilities are founded in some sense of pseudo-realism. You can be strong, but not inanely powerful or influential within the context of the world. Governments have yet to be toppled, so there's a general sense of status quo atmosphere at the outset of the RP, but this will change over time as people may choose to take over certain regions or institute new laws. In general, though, give others a chance to stop you if you want to try something big - don't just have everyone wake up one with you owning China all of a sudden. This is for power exploration, not power fantasy.
- Based on which "faction" you side with, you'll have access to varying levels of difficulty with trade-offs and story-affecting backgrounds. Working for a government would give your character a nearly unlimited budget to function off of, but they can't engage in fights without reprimands from their superiors. Basically, you have to be accountable to the NPC government, or you'd be fired. X-Tech balances autonomy and resources somewhat, but the lack of government authority might cause problems for your character - especially if they're branded a vigilante. The Strangers are completely autonomous but are usually considered either threats to public safety, creating tension when they meet up with other groups. And of course, being an unnamed normie in spandex creates its own problems...
- Political tensions are high. There might be a war soon...the first ever fought using superhumans...
- A CS thread will be up soon, but feel free to brainstorm in here! I can be reached in the RPF Discord if you have any personal questions or just want to chat.
Let's kick off the Super Century with a bang.