The First Age of Heroes
Fall of the Soviet Union
After many years of the world constantly existing in a state of fear and terror, as the two super powers fought their war of Nuclear Threats and Shrouded Conflicts The conflict had finally come to an end in the early 90s. Ended was the constant threat of nuclear annihilation. Ended too were the dark whispers rolling down the Military ranks of horrible secret operations and dark deeds.
With the truth of the Spooks of MI-13 uncovered most of the war’s momentum was lost. Gone too was the nihilistic attitude among the higher-ups. It was no surprise when only a few years later the Berlin Wall fell.
However things did not fall apart easily, the Soviet Union was gone however the infrastructure was largely intact. Without a strong central authority it was not long before corrupt officials began to take advantage of the surplus of weapons, selling it to any and all buyers.
Although never explicitly proven, many suspect that this was how the Cosmic Solution began to work its way into the hands of the Public. Although initially only those with small fortunes could afford to get their hands on the Meta-Human formula, it eventually became more available to the general populace.
Along with the weapons, the Soviet Union left behind a mass of countries who had been dependent on the Soviet Union for many basic needs such as law and order. A few wars in the early 90s can be attributed to the disruption caused in the wake of the Cold War, however many suspect that the Spooks of MI-13 were somehow manipulating these countries still.
Rise of the SuperVillian
As the Cosmic Solution spread out across the world, the number of Meta-Humans unsurprisingly rose. During the early 90s, almost all new Meta-Humans were unsavory characters, since most who had access to the Cosmic Solution had some connection to corrupt ex-Soviet officials. This lead to a rise in Meta-Crime, as seedy individuals suddenly were granted massive amounts of power, they felt little obligation to abide by society’s restrictions. Although the phrase had not been coined by this time, these were the first Super Villains.
The First SuperHero
Little is known to this day of Paragon, the First Super Hero. Although we know he received his powers through the Cosmic Solution, how he came by the formula remains a mystery. His identity remains unknown and all attempts to discern his true name have been unsuccessful. Many believe that Paragon’s exposure to the Cosmic Solution altered his facial features which account for the overdone classic male facial structure that is characteristic of Paragon. Although the question of who he was before the Cosmic Solution may remain a mystery, the world is content knowing him simply as Paragon.
Initially Paragon helped the cops fight only Super Villains, however as time went on he branched out to regular crime, being able to stop many crimes in-progress. The world united behind Paragon, he was the first of his kind; The mold to which all modern day Super Heroes compare themselves. To this day a statue of Paragon, stands in the courtyard of the League of Nations, on it a plaque reads “The First and Greatest”.
While most of the world toasted Paragon as a hero, there were some who saw his immense power as a threat. C.A.P.E. had long been dealing with Meta-Humans by the time Paragon took his first flight, they had already seen the true capabilities of Meta-Humans at the hands of the Spooks of MI-13, and such terrifying memories don’t fade easily. To this day C.A.P.E. has received a lot of negative press concerning how they dealt with Paragon, however C.A.P.E. defends their actions.
The confirmed facts of the Paragon Incident are as follows: On January 17th, 1994 Paragon fought the Super Villain ‘Quake’ in a cavern just beneath the Hollywood Hills, the struggle resulted in a massive earthquake, devastating Southern California and nearly killing Paragon. In need of medical attention, C.A.P.E. took Paragon in to treat his wounds, their expertise on Meta-Humans unquestioned. During the treatment which took several weeks, C.A.P.E. replaced Paragon with an exact clone with duplicated memories. While growing the clone C.A.P.E. inserted a microchip into the base of the skull that allowed C.A.P.E. to influence the new Paragon.
For a time, things proceeded like normal, the new Paragon ‘recovered’ fully, continued to fight crime as he had always done. This lasted until November 21st, 1995 when Paragon learned the truth. The attack on C.A.P.E. is a well documented incident, the press were on the scene from the beginning, and the fight itself is completely recorded from at least three different angles. Many critics of Super Heroes point to this incident as the undeniable proof that Meta-Human vigilantes should be hunted down. However many still see it as the epitome of being a SuperHero, standing up for what’s right no matter who the wrong-doer is.
Things could have played out very differently if it weren’t for the report of a meteor headed directly for Unity City. NASA reported that the object had gone previously undetected due to the substance it was composed of, a dark rock that seemed to absorb most bands of light instead of reflecting it. As it turned out, the meteor was a mere 10 hours till impact when it was finally spotted. When the Mayor of Unity City ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city and the alarms sounded throughout the city, Paragon was in the middle of his attack on C.A.P.E.‘s Unity City Headquarters. Famously, Paragon chose to forsake his revenge to protect the city. Lacking any time to alter the meteor’s trajectory, he was forced to impact the object at his top velocity, martyring himself to fracture it into small enough pieces to burn up in the atmosphere. His sacrifice ushered Super Heroes fully into cultural acceptance.
Paragon stopped the meteor from devastating the city, however the planet Earth was still in grave danger. The meteor was but the first salvo in a full scale alien invasion. The Arachneri dropped out of the sky on the unprepared planet below on February 12th, 1995.
In the years following the Invasion we have learned much about the Arachneri. We know that while it may have seemed the Arachneri came to Earth from the void of space, the Arachneri are in fact the only known stationary objects in the universe, and that Earth traveled through their web of ships. The Arachneri propagate themselves by stripping the resources of worlds passing through their interstellar web. The web stretches out an incalculable number of light years, as a Solar system passes through the web, all nearby Arachneri converge upon it. They don’t seek out inhabited planets they merely strip all planets as they pass through.
However we knew none of this when the first Arachneri dropped out of the sky. They came out of nowhere, their hulls seemingly made out of a refined version of the strange dark ore that the meteor had been composed of, making their ships virtually undetectable against the black of the void. They fell out of the sky onto every continent. No country was spared the ravages of the Arachneri.
Many still attribute our victory over the Arachneri to dumb luck, however no one can question the role C.A.P.E. had in driving back the invaders. C.A.P.E. had been the head of the Meta-Human operations in the U.S. during the Cold War, and had many weapons designed for use on the Soviet Union. Ironically the war which had nearly destroyed Earth only a few years prior, produced the weapons that saved the planet against the Arachneri.
Additionally instrumental to Earth’s victory were the Meta-Humans. C.A.P.E. more so then any other organization recognized the key role Meta-Humans needed to play in the war against the Arachneri. It was during the Arachneri Invasion that we see the emergence of more Super Heroes. Meta-Humans who were discontent to standby and do nothing when they had the power to help. C.A.P.E. officially recognized Meta-Humans’ instrumental role during the war in their report to Congress. This lead to the Super-Samaritan Act, which made certain types vigilantism legal, however placed the responsibility of regulating the heroes solely in C.A.P.E.’s hands. Many other countries adopted similar legislation.
Paradigm and the Savior Society
With the official stance on Super Heroes changed, many masked crusader began appearing all over the world. C.A.P.E. released an official statement highlighting the value of Super Heroes, “…extraordinary individuals, like Paragon, who could change the world…” (C.A.P.E. Statement 1998) to this end C.A.P.E. introduced the world to Paradigm. Paradigm was another clone of Paragon. However unlike the previous incarnation, Paradigm had no illusions as to his true origins, knowing he was both a clone and was created to be a Super Hero.
According to C.A.P.E. records, Paradigm was originally created to assist with the Arachneri threat, however had spent most of the war maturing. Paradigm has been called the beacon that guides the moral compasses of all Heroes. Although not a perfect copy of Paragon’s personality, every action he takes is motivated by his desire to live up to Paragon’s legacy.
A year after Paradigm had been introduced to the world he encountered a threat he could not face alone. While investigating a mysterious cult, Paradigm accidentally set off an ancient prophecy, foretelling the return to power of the Ancient Ones. The Ancient Ones are a race of beings that claim to be the eldritch Gods of Magic, while there is little known of the Ancient Ones, Paradigm claimed that they have been trying to subvert humanity since the early years of the Cold War.
As various omens and predictions were coming to pass, Paradigm soon realized that even he could not stop this threat alone. With this in mind, Paradigm established the Savior Society composed of those Super Heroes that were considered “…the greatest among us…”(Paradigm 1999). This was to try and stop the impending doom that the Ancient Ones represented. Although the details of what followed are vague at best. We do know Paradigm’s Savior Society managed to quell the threat posed by the Ancient Ones.