The Department of Super-Ordinary Affairs
1776 – A meteorite hits a Revolutionary War soldier, and gives him strange powers. Minute Man spends the majority of the war in a coma, and his powers develop slowly over time. But he does not seem to age, and soon becomes a symbol of American freedom and power.
1901 – Queen Victoria, the “Grandmother of Europe” dies, throwing the balance of affairs on the continent into uncertainty. Britain employs “Extraordinaries” in an effort to stave off unrest, beginning a slow but steady escalation of nationalized super-powered persons. Such individuals are still extraordinarily rare.
1960 – The wake of the nuclear era appears to have spawned a rash of mutations leading to a wild growth of Super-Ordinary Persons. (SOs)
Most grow up in the 60’s and 70’s, and come into their powers in the 80’s. Several scales of measuring super powers are eventually consolidated into the Unified Masey Scale.
1980 – The first pop-culture SOs are appearing. The Super-Ordinary Registration Initiative (SORI) begins. All SOs are encouraged to register and test their abilities on the UM scale for evaluation. Participation is not mandatory.
1985 – A band of popular heroes forms the first major super team in Los Angeles. Dubbed Justice a For All, it enjoys five years of wild popularity and modest commercial success before running afoul internal tragedy.
1991 – The JFA, jaded by some of its losses, takes a harder stance on unconsumed crime, and begins to push against the Delgato Drug Cartels. Within a year their headquarters is bombed, killing two members (Valedictorian and Gumbo). Two others, Tower of Power and Army of One, are kidnapped. An execution video is later released by the Cartel where a fifty-foot tall Tower of Power is decapitated with an industrial chainsaw. Army of One is never seen again.
1992 – In the aftermath of the LA bombing and the immense public outcry from the execution video, the Super Ordinary Manifestations Restrictions Act is passed. It is made unlawful to make direct use of any unregistered SO Manifestation. Any non-private manifestation must be registered and accurately reflect its recorded Masey Scale rating.
The Department of Super-Ordinary Affairs is founded to regulate the process and the SO population. Because of the regulatory strictures, most super teams become highly commercialized, and are restricted to fighting “costumed” crime. Some unregistered SOs continue to flaunt the Federal laws, and fight all crime in their territories (the Crusader and the Naked Behemoth are primary examples). These heroes are vigilantes, and considered criminals by the government.
2001 – Nigel Winthrop, also known as Lord Dysentery, manages to get on a national broadcast, and use his power, the “brown note”, on a national scale. Though no deaths can be directly attributed to the resulting confusion and outrage, the event is widespread enough to have affected a majority of elected representatives.
The DSA is quietly authorized by Executive Order to identify and indefinitely detain “Persons of Mass Destruction”. For obvious reasons, Lord Dysentery becomes the first officially named PMD, and he is removed from a civilian prison in Los Angeles, and moved to a specially designed SO Detention Center hidden under Alcatraz.
The center, dubbed the Rock, remains active for four years while the DSA identifies and renditions more PMDs.
2006 – The Rock is finally exposed when a group of San Francisco heroes stumble across it while investigating an assassination plot against Minute Man. In an act of rebellion against the government, they choose to liberate the PMDs held inside, including some genuinely dangerous beings. Minute Man is apparently disintegrated by the Void in the process, to the horror of all.
The political fallout of the prison scandal loosens a government restrictions against SOs. Miss Fabulous, an actress-turned-Hero, becomes a California State Senator and campaigns ardently for SO rights, aided by famed JFA member and canine attorney, Law Dog.
2007 – The Delgato Cartel kidnaps the Naked Behemoth, and use him to synthesize a drug that temporarily grants super powers. Dubbed “Supes”, it becomes wildly popular, and purified strains are used to produce super-powered henchmen. The Doorman, Riptide, and Snapdragon go to Columbia, and finally put an end to the Cartel with the help of Fall Out.
2008 – The Doorman means Doc Tempo, who is interested in exploring his teleportation powers. Together they discover the In-Between, a dimensionless space between doorways, and soon realize that everything the Void ever disintegrated was, in fact, teleported to this zone.
After months of exploration they register a vast and powerful presence moving towards them. Before this terrifying form can be identified, Minute Man appears, appearing greatly aged, and raving mad. He babbles “he is coming”, and before lapsing into a coma, says one word: In-Betweener.
2009 – Before Minute Man regains consciousness, an alien force arrives over New York’s Central Park. First Contact draws scores of SO heroes to the site, and thus all of them are captured when an egg-shaped force field descends over the park, cutting it off. The world watches in horror as the now opaque egg lifts away into space, and vanishes, taking the majority of the world’s most powerful heroes with it.
2010 – Emboldened by the disappearance of the heroes, a villainous organization called the Arch-League of Evil attempts to hold the world hostage by threatening to melt Greenland’s ice sheet, thus raising sea levels and speeding global warming.
Miss Fabulous comes out of retirement along with her old partner Fall Out, and the pair rally the remaining heroes to respond. At the climax of the battle, Fall Out overloads and goes nova. The resulting damage is still being contained.
2011 – In the wake of the Battle of Greenland, the Power to do Good Act (Pigeon Act) is swiftly passed. All Super-Ordinary Persons may be drafted into service by the United Nations Super Ordinary Forces Authority (SOFA). Service will be commensurate with Masey Rating and subject to UN oversight.
2012 – A former PMD comes forward to volunteer for public service. “Jenny” is a duplicator, capable of making seemingly infinite copies of herself. Though her intentions are clearly pure, and she is able to almost single-handedly reduce costumed crime substantially, her means become increasingly autocratic.
2013 – The Jennys are the United States security apparatus, for all intents and purposes. A near police-state befalls the Nation, and “Big Sister” is rightly feared everywhere.
2014 – Without any warning, the heroes return, along with Central Park, which seamlessly returns to its previous state, overlaying the broad scar that had been left in its absence. There is no explanation. The Jenny’s take all the returning heroes into custody for debriefing.