The following story uses popularly known names for characters. However this is not fan-fiction. The use of those names are an homage to the characters in an alternate universe. The idea for this first issue is to give the reader a bit of information about the world's alternate history. Hopefully it works better than just a long exposition. You tell me.
United Allied States Army Headquarters New Metropolis.
Sakura leaned back in her chair as she studied the other geni next to her. Whereas Sakura was from fox stock, Nicole was from the strong front-line wolf breeds- capable of taking an amazing amount of damage, while at the same time, dishing it out to the enemy. She stood nearly twelve feet tall, and her gray fur seemed to blend into the the battle-dress uniform she was wearing. Both women were well-built along human lines, and both were part of this new project- an attempt for the United Allied States to breed their own meta-humans to counter the Nazi ubermensch.
Up until this project, only the Nazis had been able to successfully field operatives with powers and abilities that could only be described in the comic books of the thirties. Whereas the Germans had bred their ubermensch for seventy years, the Allied forces had used advanced technology, and genetically uplifted animals in their war effort. After the destruction of old New York City on July 4th 1945, UAS citizens had a healthy distrust for ubermensch.
“What can you tell me about this team?” she asked the wolf-woman. Nicole had just come off a two month orientation with the team that was their side of the experiment’s focus.
Nicole nodded and smiled- a definitely human affectation she's acquired- and said, “They are fundamentally different from the control group.”
“Explain,” Director David Hawke asked. He of course was in charge of the implementation of Doctor Zordon's whole project.
Nicole looked over at their boss and then back to Sakura, “The control group is a military team that operates with military precision. This group is a family.”
From the tone of the other geni's voice, Sakura could tell that she preferred the team with which she'd just served. “We've had only minimal contact with the control team. Please explain further,” the fox-woman asked, her nine tails lazily curling and uncurling behind her.
Nicole sighed and continued, “In training, if you pit the Texas team against the Kansas team, the Texans are going to win every time. They are simply the best example of a small unit squad I've ever seen. However, when their backs are to the wall, when their family unit is threatened, this team, this family will find a way to win. The Texan team will go down fighting to the last man, taking their losses with an almost Spartan resignation, but not the Kansans. The Texans fight for honor and duty, the Kansans fight for an ideal. That's much more dangerous.”
“So you think the Texans are a failure?” Hawke asked, his good eye peering from under the gray eyebrow, the smell of cheap cigars wafting from his dark suit.
Nicole shook her head and said, “Not at all. I'm just saying that the Kansans have a spark inside them that make them far more resourceful, far more dangerous.”
“A danger to the UAS?” Hawke asked.
Again, the wolf woman shook her head, “Only if the UAS threatened to become like the Nazis.” She sighed and said, “You are never going to be able to turn them into the fighting unit the Texans are. But to be honest, when it came to a Nazi invasion, I'd rather have the Kansans at my back than the Texans. The Texans have no problem dying in battle. The Kansans on the other hand see it as a case of if they fall, then there is nobody else to protect the homeland.”
“But the Eldrich boy was willing to sacrifice himself by carrying that reactor core into low orbit to prevent the destruction of the Fort Riley,” Hawke protested.
Nicole nodded and said, “Yes, but his sister followed him to make sure that he didn't sacrifice himself. That reactor should have gone critical. It should have wiped out the whole base, setting our research back decades, but Pinnacle found a way, and his sister found a way to keep him alive. He wasn't going down in the good fight to preserve his honor, he was sacrificing himself to save his family, and his friends. It's a subtle difference, but it's very profound.”
Hawke nodded, seeming to understand the situation far better than most of the command staff with which Sakura had dealt over the past few years. “Okay, let's start looking at them one by one. Give Sakura and myself your impression of them.
Nicole nodded and said, “Okay with whom do you want to start?”
“How about Clarke?”
“Isaac Clarke code named Spectre: Powers are invisibility, insubstantiality, and the ability to “buff” other beings with a hand full of powers,” Nicole said. Sakura noticed a slight gleam in the wolf woman's eyes as if she were remembering something very pleasant. As you know his mother is now in rehab for substance abuse. Both she and her husband have managed to imprint their rather libertine life-philosophy onto him. On paper, it is he that we are being assigned to protect- and in time of emergencies, be “buffed.” Again, the wolf woman smiled pleasantly. “I would say that he and Regina are probably the two most dangerous of the team.
“Why?” Sakura asked. “Pinnacle lifted a hundred tons into orbit in less than four minutes? Justice put the entire state of Kansas to sleep.”
“Because if he or Regina identify a threat to the UAS or to their family, they're the ones who are willing to cross just about any line to eliminate it.” She grinned wickedly, showing her teeth and added, “Both could benefit from what you have to teach them.”
“Parker?” Sakura asked wishing to move the agenda along.
“Ray Parker, code-named: Devil Doc. At eighteen he has as much medical training as an M.D. His powers allow him fly, generate a force field impervious to heavy arms fire, stretch his limbs and even burrow with them. However, most impressive is the ability to kill with a touch of his left hand, or heal- or even resurrect with his right.”
“Personality?” Sakura asked.
“He's being pushed by his parents to be a “super doctor”. His father is an MD, his mother a VMD. He's the team's quiet one. But as Ubermensch's forces found out, he is also quite deadly. He understands life and death probably more poignantly that the others. He also has a taste for seventies muscle cars, having rebuilt one from scratch.”
“Tell me about the Psi?” Sakura asked.
“Nathan Corrin, code-named: Justice. He's a powerful telepath, with a moderate telekinesis. So far he's managed to keep the fact that he's a telepath a close secret from everybody outside of the project. That includes Baron Feuer. His frequent proximity to Senator Eldrich would make the general public's knowledge that he is not only a telepath, but a mind controller as well, difficult to justify. And the team needs their patron.”
“Both of his parents are gifted psychologists. His father is a prominent psychoanalyst. He's been raised understanding how the human mind works from the inside out. He has some intimacy issues as a side effect of his powers, but is surprisingly well-adjusted.”
Sakura nodded wondering if her “other” skills may be helpful in helping him get over those. “You've intrigued me with your comments about Regina. Let's discuss her next.”
Nicole closed her eyes and leaned back in her rather large chair. “Hestia Regina Eldrich code-named: Liberty. She's the oldest of a pair of fraternal twins. She's the only female on the team and her powers are centered around controlling fire. She can generate it. She can create a pair of flaming wings to fly as fast as her brother, and she can also use it to fold space between two points with a range of several hundred miles. When she's “buffed” it can reach across the continent.”
“Personality?” Hawke asked intrigued.
“In a storm of raging testosterone, she's a ship of unfazeable calm sailing through it with aplomb. She has paid the closest attention to her father's job, and intends to follow him into politics. On more than one occasion, she has said that she plans on being the president of the UAS one day, and I don't doubt her ability to do it. She's fiercely protective of her friends, whom she considers family, and especially so of her twin brother. She's even interfered on his behalf with their father on at least one occasion. She's the one that the others actually fear slightly, something to do with her melting all their toys as a child,” Nicole said, obviously admiring the young lady.
“Whitney Lang Eldrich code-named: Pinnacle. His powers are what we're calling the paragon-set. Strong, hard to hurt, fast, and nigh invulnerable. He's actually the shyest member of the team, who has some issues to resolve about his strength.”
“How so?” Hawke asked worriedly.
“All of his life, he's been told to be careful and not break anybody. That has built up a certain reticence on his part about intimacy. It was further aggravated by his father's attempt a couple of years ago to make him a man,” Nicole said using her furred fingers to make little quotation marks in the air.
“Anything else?” Sakura asked.
“Like I said, there are some daddy issues. Psychologically he struggling against what he sees as his father's attempts to control him. In response, he's managed to turn that investment project that Director Hawke approved several years ago into an impressive investment portfolio that outstrips his father's.”
“And is Senator Eldrich trying to control his son?” Director Hawke asked.
Nicole shook her head and said, “Not that I can tell. Whitney sees his father as trying to turn him into something he's not, and is fighting tooth and nail against it. However, his father is content that his son is growing into a man of which he can be proud. Whitney is fighting a battle against his father, that his father is not fighting.”
Sakura nodded. “I think I get the picture,” she said. She knew some families back in Okinawa who had generated an occasionally similar situation. It usually either ended in tragedy, or in a substantial increase in clan power. “What else?” she asked moving on.
Nicole nodded and said, “We need to discuss a photographer for the Daily Planet named Peter Parker.”
Patriots Complex New Metropolis Five Weeks Previous.
Nathan Corrin settled into the large comfortable chair in the common room of the penthouse suite overlooking New Metropolis. The rest of the team was there with one exception. Whitney was still MIA. First the government insisted on decontaminating him. When they discovered that he was unaffected by the radiation of that reactor they wanted to study him. Then when Major Scott had stepped in, they asked for his services down at Cape Canaveral. They still hadn't gotten any real answers about when he was coming back.
Across the coffee table from him Ray was settling into another easy chair. Hew was thumbing through Whitney's history notebook going through the other teen's tight neat handwriting looking for things that might be on the test. His blue eyes scanning the words from under his raven hair. Next to them on Nathan’s right, stretched out on the sofa, Isaac seemed to be trying to absorb the information from the textbook through osmosis as it was lying upside down and open across his face. Nicole was in the kitchen area, and it smelled like she was making a pot of coffee.
Regina entered the room, and plopped down on the sofa opposite Isaac and sighed as she smoothed her poodle skirt. “Just got off the phone with Whitney. He'll be here tomorrow.”
“Did he tell you what he was doing?” Nathan asked.
“Only that he was working with the space program. I get the feeling that he's very tired,” the raven haired girl said as she settled into the sofa, her feet tucked under her. Nathan let his eyes drift quickly between her and Ray noting just how much the two looked alike. Obviously she and Whitney were twins, but Ray could very easily be a triplet with his blue eyes and black hair. Of course he recognized that although his own and Isaac's hair were brown, their features could easily identify them as members of the same family. They weren't, but it sure looked like they were.
She reached down and picked up her own text book and sighed disgustedly. “We just graduated. Why are we studying for a test?”
“Because Major Scott wants us to do as well as we can on the upcoming Met U placement tests. For some reason, he wants us to make sure that we have the history down,” Ray said still scanning through Whitney's notes.
From under the open book on his face, Isaac said, “Okay, what's the first thing you think will be on the test?”
“Definitely the asteroid strike of 1854. The one that set off the great winter decade,” Nathan said as everyone nodded their heads. “Yeah, snow in June for a decade pretty much wrecked the Northern States' food production. I guess there's going to be an essay on that. How it left the South in a strong position so that the Civil War ended the South was able to force reparations from the North and compensation for freeing the slaves.”
“Do you think it'll touch on the Great War?” Regina asked.
Nathan shook his head and said, “Not much more than it was trench warfare and that it ended with the Treaty of Versailles.”
“Maybe the Red Baron,” Ray said. “I think it'll deal mainly with rise of fascism and the European unification under Adolph Hitler the First.”
“Yeah, and of course Pearl Harbor. Two of our carriers were sunk and Halsey killed made the war in the Pacific almost untenable,” Regina replied. “I'm sure there's going to be something about the eventual nuking of Tokyo and the freeing of the Okinawans.”
“Yeah, Patton taking Italy and killing Mussolini only to have to turn around and give it back to the Germans because he had to rescue Montgomery in Southern France after McCauliff was captured in the Black Forest,” Nathan interjected and quickly added, “And the battles between the German ubermensch and Allied walker-tanks.” There was always a friendly rivalry between all of them to add as much to the study sessions as they could.
“Yeah but that stage of the war went on for almost a decade. We nuked Japan, the Germans used their jets to get past the Russian lines and turned the whole dang country into a nuclear wasteland where even today nothing lives. Then the fight for North Africa that left the entire Arabian Peninsula uninhabitable,” Nathan said picking up the narrative. They all wanted to make sure they did well on this test. Disappointing Major Scott and Doctor Cranston was not an option in any of their minds.
What about the period from 1945 through 1951?” Ray asked.
“Uhgg,” Nathan said shaking his head and then began listing the litany of events. “Lots happening there to cover. Japan, or more accurately, Okinawa becomes a US territory. The Allied armies are forced off the European continent. The full use of jet powered aircraft, and armored walker technology changed the face of modern warfare. Feuer-Krieger and his band attacked New York and burned it to the ground killing three million. The Allied fire bombing of most of Austria and Germany. The Germans taking all of Africa, and the Allies subduing Asia. The cease-fire of 1948 that lasted all of eighteen months until we found out about the Jewish Holocaust and the Germans began to ethnically cleanse all of Europe. The ubermensch-backed invasion of the Southwest through Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. The first use of a neutron weapon on Mexico city that wiped out most of the German ubermensch forces. Arin Zola defecting to the Allied forces and bringing the ubermensch technology with him. The Chinese counter offensive against the Germans that resulted in them getting nuked.“
“Don't forget about India,” Isaac said. “Whatever happened there, turned the whole subcontinent into a giant breeding ground for monsters that we're still dealing with today. Even the Germans help us keep it contained.”
“Yeah, it was hard time. The plague that followed forced both sides to hole up and stop fighting for at least five years. It wasn't until '56 when the Germans started moving again in Africa, and began doing to it what they'd done to Europe. The sinking of the hospital ship Elanor Roosevelt started the fighting all over again,” Regina said sadly.
“If you can call that stage of the war fighting. Most of it was long range bombings and V-2 and V-3 rockets. I don't think there was a single battle where an actual army met another army,” Isaac said. “Not exactly fighting. But still it gave the Allied forces time to develop the geni technology. We were short on man power, but the uplifted wolves, dogs, cats, otters, and whales made a difference later.” Nathan always thought that Isaac was a bit too interested in the genies.
“Yeah, but at least they managed to complete rebuilding New York during that time, and renamed it New Metropolis,” Ray said, spreading his arms wide to encompass the city. Of course rebuilding it wasn't exactly accurate. Feuer-Krieger's fire had burned stone, metal, and flesh alike. Old New York was five burroughs that covered not only the island of Manhattan but the whole bay area. Now it was fortified walled city built more underground than above covering only Manhattan- there was an Aeronavy base on Long Island, but for the most part the surrounding land was farms now. Behind three hundred feet high, hundred feet thick walls, gleaming towers of concre-steel and glass rose to scrape the sky. Below, a maze of passageways, highways, and underground construction housed eight and half million people. Only a half a million, including he and his friends chose to live above ground now.”
“What about the Nordic Rebellion?” Nathan asked. “You think they'll ask about that?”
Regina frowned slightly and said, “Ten years of bloody war from 1960 to 1969 where we invade Norway and Sweden at the behest of their underground and the Germans once again try to take Britain.”
“Yeah, but they managed to cause China to completely collapse. Mao-Tse Tung was killed which actually did us more good than harm driving the final nail into the coffin of communism. The Germans consolidate their power in Africa, completing their murder of a hundred million people,” Ray said bitterly at the thought of that kind of loss of life. The Germans were efficient if anything.
“Yeah, but it led to the formation of the UAS. The allies merged to become the United Allied States, with its capital here in New Metropolis.”
“Yeah, and the Germans attacked Britain yet again. Sometimes I wonder why they're obsessed with those islands,” Regina commented.
“It's because they can't stand to have the UAS that close. And that time they got their behinds handed to them. It was the first time GPS technology was used and the German Navy got caught between the RAF and the American Navy. The new Tomcats sank the most powerful of German battleships and crippled their sea-forces. Of course they managed to hit Saskatchewan and Central America with their ICBMs. Losing the Panama Canal hurt us as bad as destroying their navy did them,” Nathan countered.
“Think there will be anything about the death of Hitler?” Isaac answered.
“Probably just that he died in 1972 of natural causes and was succeeded by his son, Adolph the Second. I think that the more important question will be what forces led to the peace treaty of 1982,” Nathan said.
“That one is easy,” Regina replied. “After nearly forty years of off and on fighting at least one plague and several nuclear strikes, both sides were exhausted, the world's population was where it was after the Black Plague hit Europe and Asia in the Fourteenth Century, and resources were at a premium. Nobody could afford to keep fighting. Both sides were forced to the negotiating table. The problem is that we've had seventeen years to rebuild. The Germans have been making noises about their ubermensch, we've created a whole new series of armored walkers, and a new generation of genies to fight for us. There's been a bit of economic growth for both sides. The question is whether or not we will go back to war, or find a way to make a lasting peace.”
“You sound like you don't have much hope for that,” Nathan said.
Regina shrugged, “Look at us. We were designed to be the next generation of UAS ubermensch...,”
“Meta-humans,” Isaac interrupted. “Doctor Cranston doesn't like us to be called ubermensch. It suggests that we're as bad as the Nazis.”
Regina frowned and shrugged. “Meta-humans, ubermensch, or supers, whatever you want to call us, Doctor Cranston designed us to be weapons of war. I think it's going to be very difficult for us to escape that fate.”
“Perhaps,” Nicole said entering the main conference room and sitting in the huge over-stuffed chair that Regina had bought for her. “But I've seen films of the ubermensch in action. You are not like them. I prefer to use the term, meta-humans.”
“You prefer to use the term, pack-mate,” Nathan said with a gentle smile. “But the higher ups don't want to you to use it because they are afraid we'll start seeing ourselves as genies.”
“Isn't that what we are?” Regina asked. “I mean geni means Genetically Engineered Individual. That sounds like a good description of us.”
“That's depressing,” Isaac said sitting up and putting the book on the table. “Let's get back to the real question at hand. Do you guys feel comfortable with being able to do well on the test?”
“If it's on recent world history, yeah,” Regina said.
“Good, then let's go see a movie. I've had enough studying for one day,” the other boy said.
“You've been asleep on the couch!” Nicole protested.
“I can study with my eyes closed,” Isaac said. “Still do you guys want to go to a movie?”
“Sure,” Regina said. “As long as it's not a documentary or beach bunny flick.”