And Here We Are Again...

What is listed here is now public knowledge, collected in interviews, documentaries, news broadcasts, and the like. In the aftermath of the Second American Civil War, the events leading up to and surrounding the war have been dragged out into the light. The existence of conspiracies, shadowy terrorist organizations, and heroic freedom fighters are no longer whispers and rumors. But some of the deepest mysteries still remain obscured from the public's eye. Stories of time travelers embroiled in a war across generations, parallel universes, and the more improbable events are still known only to those who lived them. Previous events for String Theory, much of which are summarized broadly below, can be found here and here.

A Roadmap to the Unknown (1940 through 1960)

"We like to think that the story of SLC-Expressive humans began in 2006, but the truth of the matter is that they've been here for generations — if not even longer than that. The genetic experimentation of World War II may be the oldest documented touchstone, but stories of people with superhuman abilities permeate myth and legends. How much of these are fiction and how much are fact is now thrown into question. Are the mythological figures of our past truly myths, or were they the contemporary "Evolved" of their time? With the blinders removed, are we now also living in mythic times? — Larange, Ilsa. "Living In A Mythic Age", 2016

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Our world looks a lot different now than it did ten, even twenty years ago. The signs of the changes have been there for decades, but not everyone had the perspective to see all of the disparate pieces as a part of a greater whole. To see where a series of choices snowballed into something larger, something unbelievable.

As far as anyone can tell, it all started in the 1940s. That's the first scientifically documented record of people with extraordinary abilities. There'd been stories before, sure, but this is when we can trace the first concrete records to. Sometime in the early 1940s, German scientists working for the Third Reich began cruel human experimentation on people with extraordinary abilities in an attempt to ascertain the origins of the "Ubermensch." These projects were led by a team of seven men, and after the war their research was co-opted by the United States and turned into something called Project Icarus.

Icarus was the natural evolution of the original German experiments, but it wasn't intending to find the origins of superhuman abilities; rather, how to control and create them. Icarus' research was first carried out by ex-Nazi scientists brought over to the US under the auspices of Operation Paperclip, giving them carte blanche to continue their study. When that ended poorly, it transitioned in the late 1950s to a team of researchers led by Chandra Suresh and his assistant Jonas Zimmerman (son of one of the original German scientists, Heinrich Zimmerman).

By the start of the 1960s, the United States Government had begun quietly rounding up people with superhuman abilities into a relocation center called Coyote Sands in the Arizona desert. There, these people were subjected to medical experiments designed to determine the source of their gift and how it could be induced in others. That, too, ended poorly. Coyote Sands turned into a massacre, and the handful of children who survived vowed to never let that happen again.

For a while, they held to their promise.

In Good Company (1960 through 2006)

"Fifty years, America. Fifty, long years, there have been the Evolved among us and fifty long years they have been allegedly trying to manipulate out country. Now we found this out prior to an official press release and we're relatively certain that the New York Times was the first news outlet to break this story on their website. Now a little after nine this morning White House press secretary Paul Ferguson confirmed the Times' story but gave little information. Now in just about an hour now President Nathan Petrelli is scheduled to speak on the front lawn of the White House about what is going on, and I can only imagine this will pry open the gates of this story even further than we're already hearing." — Olberman, Keith. "America Infiltrated" September 1, 2010. Available to read part 1, and part 2

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From the 1960s onward, these children utilized their vast powers to manipulate the US Government, hide the existence of not only themselves but their kind, and keep the world blind to the existence of people with special abilities out of fear for how the populace would react. These children became adults, and in their power, wealth, and influence collected through use of their abilities they became known as The Company.

The Company was a clandestine organization that monitored, tracked, and in some cases imprisoned people with superhuman abilities. "Special" people, they were called back then. The Company saw itself as a global superpower, pulling the strings of governments and private citizens in order to keep their masquerade. But the Company had a rotten seed at its core, a member brought into their fold early on who sowed seeds of sedition, selfishness, and a vision of a sick world that needed to be cured through their ranks. Even after this seditious voice was silenced, the damage had already been done.

Over time, the Company's mission statement changed. They went from protecting "Special" people to controlling them. They would recruit those who suited their needs, unlawfully imprison those who got too close to the truth and wouldn't cooperate, those the Company deemed too "dangerous." They brainwashed senators, influenced elections, but at the same time protected the world from violent natural disasters and calamity, often times creating new perils in the wake of their actions.

For decades, this balance of power was maintained, until the seed sown by a dark heart took root in the early 2000's.

Forced Evolution (2006-2008)

"It is unfathomable, the level of cruelty and inhumanity we have discussed here over the course of this trial. A conspiracy not only to control the soul of the United States and its people, but the world. The defendant played an instrumental part in the conspiracy that not only cost hundreds of thousands of lives in the orchestration of the Midtown nuclear explosion, but later treason in the blackmailing of President-Elect Allen Rickham, the installation of a dictator in the form of Nathan Petrelli, which allowed our country to fall into a systematic abuse of an entire people by merit of the way they were born. Defendant Robert Bishop, on the counts of the indictment on which you have been convicted, the Tribunal sentences you to death by lethal injection." — Except from sentencing at the trial of Robert Bishop, Albany Trials; June 8, 2015

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On October 1st 2006, a period of solar maximum awoke superhuman abilities in tens of thousands of people across the world. A sudden spike in the population of "Special" people meant that the Company would no longer be able to perform their tasks effectively. One day, soon, the masks would come off and the Company would be unable to hide any longer. But there was an undercurrent in the Company that colored their decision on how to handle this momentous occasion, the notion that the world was "sick" and needed to be healed in Biblical terms. Secret projects rumbled in the dark, schemes and machinations played out, prophets and precognitives sought to change the world piece by piece. On November 8th, 2006, one of those plans played out with calamitous intent.

The way the world saw it, a superhuman serial killer named "Sylar" utilized a radioactive ability to detonate in Midtown Manhattan, causing a blast that killed thousands instantly and thousands more in the years to come from radiation sickness. But the truth was far more insidious. Peter Petrelli, son of Company founders, was manipulated to that very moment in time to cause exactly that disaster. Misguided minds saw the tragedy as a way to unify the world in fear, to show that a world with dangerous powers required powerful guardians. It backfired, spectacularly.

There was a knife for every back in the days following November 8th. Members of the Company not in on the plan turned on each other, agents went rogue, the organization nearly fell apart and was held together by the most tenuous of threads. When the dust had settled, the Company had leveraged itself to the US Government, made themselves visible to the power players in Washington and tried to strong arm every global power into believing that they were the only solution.

Reaction to the events of November 8th, 2006 was fear and chaos. Riots and violence, confusion, disbelief, and a simmering resentment of the "Other." People needed definition, needed clear terms to understand the world around them. "Special" didn't cover things, and so the world turned to science for an explanation to the seemingly unexplainable. It was Doctor Mohinder Suresh, building off of the work of his father Chandra, who coined the term "Evolved" based on his discovery of genes possessed by those with special abilities, dubbed the Suresh Linkage Complex. Mohinder presented the existence of the "Evolved" as the next step in human evolution. It was a narrative the Company pushed, to make people aspire to be one of the Evolved.

For a time, it worked.

The Past is Prologue (2008-2011)

"We never truly realized how close the world came to Armageddon when it was happening around us. Freedom-fighters labeled "terrorists" in their time thwarted a plot to release a biological weapon that could have ended life on earth as we know it. A covert global military operation prevented the detonation of a thermonuclear warhead beneath Antarctica that would have radically changed global climate and sea levels. The name Kazimir Volken was unknown to us all, and yet the shadow of his hand stretches across history for nearly three quarters of a century." — Excerpt, Lyuba Kolosova — Wolves of Valhalla: The Rise and Fall of Kazimir Volken’s Vanguard

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In 2008 the Linderman Act was passed, a law that required "Evolved" to register themselves in a monitored government database. Thousands of people revealed themselves to the world, showcasing their abilities, being filed, categorized, tracked. The darkest side of the Linderman Act were the people who registered and disappeared. The Company provided final assessment of all abilities, and those who were deemed dangerous or unstable were classified "Tier-3" and whisked away under cover of darkness, presumably never to be seen again. But things swept under the rug seldom remain there.

In 2009 the world was made aware of an international paramilitary organization known as the Vanguard, a group of primarily non-evolved humans working under the leadership of Kazimir Volken, a seemingly immortal Evolved who facilitated the original German experiments into his kind. The Vanguard were possessed by the idea that the Evolved would destroy the world, that they needed to be expunged and the world returned to "human" hands. Even those few Evolved who settled under the Vanguard's wing believed they themselves were a part of the problem.

The Vanguard coordinated terrorist attacks as a diversion to a much larger game with two stages. First was the theft of a viral weapon designed by the Company that only affected the Evolved. This plague was intended to spread across the world, purging it clean. But pro-Evolved groups began to spring up in opposition to the Vanguard. Ultimately, these militant groups along with invested individual actors, were able to stop the Vanguard's viral weapon before it could spread. But they failed to realize there was a second stage to this plan, that gears were moving out of sight, and that the end of the world was still on the table. A 2010 attempt by the Vanguard to detonate an atomic bomb under the Antarctic ice shelf to bring about a global flood nearly brought the world to its knees.

Riots came in the months that followed, violence against the Evolved, terrorist attacks by the Evolved against an ever-oppressive government. Human trafficking groups like the Ferrymen helped secret Evolved people out of the United States, anti-Evolved groups like Humanis First staged mass killings and terrorist attacks, violent paramilitary groups like MESSIAH threatened to dismantle the government, and secret science research centers like the Commonwealth Institute attempted to brace against the coming storm and steer the future to their own ends.

It was a time of massive upheaval and change, a tectonic shift of the world that could only end one way: violently.

On the 5th anniversary of the Midtown explosion, the world was turned on its ear again. A top-secret government research facility below the MIT campus in Cambridge Massachusetts was attacked by a coalition of Pro-Evolved freedom fighters, liberating adults and children illegally detained in the facility. Government-aligned actors within their organizations leaked their escape route plans to the government, and military assets were scrambled to confront terrorists, unaware of the actual individuals in movement. A flight of automated drones designed by the Commonwealth Institute gunned down dozens of innocent people attempting to flee illegal government captivity.

This atrocity was caught on camera by an NBC 5 camera crew out of Boston there to cover anti-government protests on MIT's campus. Just before the drones opened fire, a woman later identified as former Company agent Veronica Sawyer spoke with the press and outlined the atrocities happening at the underground facility. The video footage of children as young as seven being gunned down by government forces was just a part of the televised tragedy of that monumental day.

Seven minutes after the Cambridge massacre, the nuclear reactor within the subterranean Commonwealth Institute facility suffered a critical overload. Contingency precautions within the facility caused a controlled implosion, sealing off the radioactive material beneath hundreds of feet of concrete, but collapsed a half mile of downtown Cambridge, including the MIT campus, killing hundreds. Riots sprang up in the wake of the Cambridge massacre and collapse, but what came next would shock even the most jaded.

At a mid-afternoon memorial service in Midtown Manhattan, as the Commonwealth Facility was being raided up north, President Nathan Petrelli received a mysterious phone call on-air and then rocketed into the sky of his own volition, revealing a heretofore unknown "Evolved" ability of flight. Shock came through the crowd, followed by violence and an overwhelming response by the police and National Guard attending the memorial.

Less than five minutes later, a Department of Homeland Security holding facility three blocks away violently exploded. What came after was a catastrophic battle between two immensely powerful Evolved humans possessing multiple abilities. At the time, the individuals involved weren't known, the battle raging so fast that camera crews couldn't keep up. Buildings were destroyed, bystanders killed, massive collateral damage nearly laid the entirety of Manhattan into ruin.

But the battle ended in a way no one could have predicted. We learned years later that one of the people involved in the fight was Peter Petrelli, son of Company founders and the true — unintentional — cause of the Midtown explosion of 06. His opponent was none other than Gabriel Gray, also known as Sylar, the serial killer the Midtown events had been pinned on for years. At the conclusion of their confrontation , Peter Petrelli grabbed Sylar and attempted to fly him up and out of the city. Except something happened, halfway into the ascent at about the top of roof level Peter and Sylar exploded with the force of a low-yield atomic blast.

The shockwave destroyed what was left of Central Park and everything for two blocks. An EMP shockwave from the blast tore across Manhattan, disabling the power grid and destroying unshielded electronics as far away as Jersey City and Queens. Fires raged, radioactive fallout swirled in the air, and the world was witness to the second bomb.

In the chaos that followed, President Petrelli was determined missing and likely dead, forcing Vice President Andrew Mitchell to step forward as President in an emergency continuity of government appointment. Military assets were mobilized to New York, and Mitchell went on television to blame the explosion on "terrorist" elements within America. Martial law was declared across the country, and US military forces rolled into Evolved relocation centers and began executing residents in the streets without due process.

Tens of thousands of American citizens were killed in these military operations, but the worst was yet to come.

The Second American Civil War (2012 - 2013)

"I remember my family was in the living room. We'd been apart from all the fighting, nothing had really happened in rural Utah. We'd seen planes flying overhead, watched things on the news. But then we received the emergency alert about the ICBMs being launched. I remember my family just— we all gathered in the living room and held hands and prayed. We weren't figuring we'd be hit, so far away. But we were praying for everyone else, for all the people who might be lost. When the power went out, when the truck didn't start, we knew something unthinkable had happened. Took is almost a month for word to reach, that a nuclear missile had hit Oregon. That the entire west coast was dark. But we were already living in the new world by then, taking in refugees to our farm, helping those who couldn't help themselves. We're still in that world now." — Excerpt, "The New Frontier: Settlers of the Dead Zone, 2017

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In January of 2012 President Andrew Mitchell led a swift coup against the legislative branches of the US Government, declaring war within the boundaries of the United States of America against any and all SLC-Expressive humans. Military assets were moved and poised to attack in light of a "coordinated attempt by Evolved humans to take our country by force." Tanks rolled down major city streets, safehouses across the country were raided, and Registered evolved were tracked to their homes and massacred.

By March branches of the US Military openly opposed Mitchell's agenda, and were turned on by Mitchell's loyalists. The nation fell into a violent civil war. International reaction to the chaos in America was swift as stock markets plunged, global securities dropped, and allied nations pleaded for peace and rationality.

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By June of 2012 the fighting across the United States had reached a fever pitch as Evolved freedom fighters joined side by side with US military personnel who refused to heel to Mitchell's orders. The fighting was most fierce on the American west coast, centered around northern California and the Pacific Northwest, tapered off across the midwest region, and then spiked back up on the east coast. Sanctions were leveled against the US in an attempt to quell the violence, while proxy armies from invested nations moved in to America on both sides of the war.

In September of 2012 freedom fighters attempted an assassination of President Mitchell and failed, resulting in massive casualties on both sides. Though Mitchell survived the attack it would later be discovered that he suffered critical, life-threatening injuries preventing him from carrying out most of his responsibilities as President. Mitchell's inner circle, led by US Army General Timothy Moritz, pushed to end the conflict. On the international front, an emergency session of the United Nations was held in Geneva to discuss the potential for a coalition operation to end the conflict in the United States.

President Mitchell ordered the construction of the Manhattan Detention Grounds for civilian unrest in December of 2012, erecting a concrete wall around the island of Manhattan. The intention would be to turn Manhattan into a political prison that would continue use once he finished his seizure of power and stamped out resistance. Construction on the detention center was never finished as fighting spilled back into New York, halting work.

Before the UN could authorize coalition military activity, the sum of all fears was realized. On November 24th 2013 General Moritz attempted to turn America's nuclear arsenal against suspected hotbeds of Evolved activity, while spinning a story of an Evolved technopath hacker as responsible for the strike. However, nearly all of the missiles launched were disarmed in flight thanks to the efforts of a united front of Evolved working in tandem to prevent the catastrophe. Two missiles, one targeting Seattle, Washington and the other Portland, Oregon were unable to be stopped.

The strike on Seattle was not complete, however. Evolved freedom fighters based out of Seattle were able to force the ICBM to detonate at 400km above the surface of the earth, but the blast caused a catastrophic EMP magnitudes more powerful than that in Manhattan. The EMP's effect blacked out the American northwest from as far south as Bakersfield, California to north past Vancouver, BC in Canada and east as far as Casper, Wyoming. All unhardened civilian infrastructure collapsed in the EMP, and the majority of military assets in the field fell as well. Eighteen seconds later a 100 kiloton nuclear warhead struck three miles south of Portland, Oregon in Brentwood-Darlington. The fireball radius spread out to 1,640 ft with an air blast pushing 1.2 miles beyond to the edge of Portland. The devastation, without any fire or rescue personnel or equipment to respond, was unfathomable. Wildfires sparked by the blast raged over the Pacific Northwest and into California.

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Freedom fighting coalitions within the United States closed in on the fortified Raven Rock compound on January 18th 2014, three weeks after the desolation out west, leading to the bloodiest moments of the conflict. Seeing the end approaching, General Moritz committed suicide within the Raven Rock compound, and loyalist forces surrendered eighteen hours later. President Mitchell was taken alive by rebel forces, signaling the beginning of the end of the second American civil war.

The Reconstruction (2014 - 2017)

"What has happened to America could happen, has happened, anywhere in the world. The way we treat the SLC-Expressive determines who we are as a people, how we are willing to treat one-another, and the values we place on the lives of the innocent. The war for the soul of the United States may be over, but we will not stand idly by and watch our allies wither in the aftermath of their rebirth. The Sovereign Nation of Madagascar is devoted to aiding the United States, as they aided us in our time of need, and sharing the wealth we have gained so that our two nations may grow strong together. For it is together that we rise to the occasion, and together that we withstand the challenges yet to come." — Transcript, Ambassador Juwariya Dunsimi to the United Nations General Assembly, March 9th 2017

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America would never fully recover from the conflict it faced following November 8th, 2011. The country that emerged from the ashes bears little resemblance to the one that was set ablaze. In the aftermath of the civil war, elements from the rebellion against Andrew Mitchell's regime would help found an interim government, reaching out to international communities for aid in the recovery process. Canada, China, France, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, and the UK were the first nations to offer immediate aid followed by other nations filtering in relief efforts through already-engaged countries.

In February 2014 United Nations member states began investigations into human rights violations within the Petrelli and Mitchell administrations and during the second American civil war. A war crimes tribunal began in August indicting actors from the US Government, the Company, the Department of Evolved Affairs, and other military and civilian organizations. Witnesses in these trials were called from freedom fighters and civilians, representing both unaffiliated interests and groups like Phoenix and the Ferrymen who had been fighting against the very injustices on trial for years.

Albany, New York, was chosen as a site for trials that took place in 2015 and 2016. Judges from Great Britain, France, Canada, Japan, and the United States presided over the hearings of forty-eight major war criminals. Thirty-six prominent conspirators were sentenced to death. Most of the defendants admitted to the crimes of which they were accused, although most claimed that they were simply following the orders of a higher authority, echoing sentiments heard in the Nuremberg trials. Those individuals directly involved in the killing received the most severe sentences. Others who played key roles in the operation of organizations such as the Company and the Commonwealth Institute, including high-level government officials, and business executives who conspired with aforementioned charged, received short prison sentences or no penalty at all.

In May of 2014 the interim government installed in the US held an emergency special election. From the hand-picked candidates, one powerful voice within the rebellion that helped lead the charge against Andrew Mitchell was chosen to become America's 47th President — former Department of Evolved Affairs secretary Raymond Praeger. The first act of Praeger's presidency was to denounce the actions of the Mitchell and Petrelli administrations and immediately roll back all Evolved-related legislation to focus on rebuilding the country. This act proved to be a double-edged sword, forcing EU nations compliant with the EUSR (European Union SLC Registry) to deny American citizens entry to their nation, even under refugee status. Only Canada and Mexico freely allowed Americans to pass their borders with US Visas.

In June of 2014 President Praeger declared the EMP-devastated region of the American west the PNW and PSW Dead Zones. Estimates for recovery in these areas was set at thirty or forty years and costing hundreds of billions of dollars. With the American economy devastated by the civil war, the US reached out to foreign allies to assist in reconstruction in exchange for tax and business privileges. China and Japan brokered exclusive deals to assist in the reconstruction of the PSW and PNW Dead Zones, respectively. 98% of the EMP-affected regions remain without stable power in the present day.

Former President Andrew Mitchell was put on trial in August of 2014 and sentenced to death by hanging in October of 2015. However, many more criminals sought for trial were never found. Known war criminals that worked for the Department of Evolved Affairs, the Commonwealth Institute, and other government offices fled America to live abroad, or hid within the Western Dead Zones.

In an effort to find and arrest these escaped criminals, the United States gave special dispensation to private military companies to act as sanctioned bounty hunters within American and allied territories. While numerous such companies sprang up in early 2016, the organization known as Wolfhound immediately rose above all others thanks to the efficiency of its ex-military personnel and specialized Evolved operatives. From 2015 through to the present day, Wolfhound carries out extraction operations in the United States and abroad against known fugitives from justice.

In September of 2014 the Praeger Administration proposed the Chesterfield Act and a SLC-Expressive Bill of Rights. Both documents, drafted by Secretary of State Catherine Chesterfield, ensured a voluntary form of private Registration program of SLC-Expressive American citizens, with verbiage requiring mandatory registration for citizens who are convicted of violent crimes using their abilities. The Chesterfield Act also came with the dissolution of the Department of Evolved Affairs, replaced by the SLC Expressive Services Agency (SESA) with Chesterfield serving an advisory role on the SESA council.

In October the Chesterfield Act was passed into law alongside the SLC-Expressive Bill of Rights and SESA became an active government agency.

In March of 2015 SESA instated the Reclamation Committee, tasked with rebuilding destroyed American infrastructure with the aid of SLC-Expressive volunteers. As part of this effort, a sizable portion of the mostly-abandoned New York City was cleared out by the National Guard and ground was broken for an attempted rehabitation of New York. The Japan-based Yamagato Industries offered exclusive financial backing for the creation of the Safe Zone, in exchange for a several square block portion of the city for a corporate footprint. Construction begins on Yamagato Park in late April and concludes in November. Yamagato Park serves as a corporate headquarters for the Safe Zone reconstruction effort and seat of the SESA-NY council overseeing the effort.

In May of 2015 the perimeter of the New York Safe Zone was established across what was once most of Brooklyn and Red Hook as well as portions of Queens.

By 2016 the least-affected portions of the United States — the stretch of country from Nebraska east to Ohio — became the center of infrastructure reconstruction. Massive shifts in manufacturing brought tremendous opportunities for growth in formerly impoverished regions like Detroit, Michigan. The heartland of America swelled, looking to aid its beleaguered brethren. But all was not well.

In late 2016, Portland, Oregon and the island of Manhattan in New York were declared nuclear Exclusion Zones, and little effort was made to remove the wall constructed around the island of Manhattan which — conveniently — contained the Exclusion Zone. Though failure to complete construction means gaps in the wall still permitted trespassers within.

An official Presidential election was held in late 2016 to legitimize the current Presidential administration. While the election itself was stymied by technological difficulties, the country participated fervently in the process. Ultimately, Praeger's emergency Presidential bid was re-confirmed and he was elected — officially — as President of the United States after a landslide.

While the civil war officially ended, pockets of fighting have continued across the country through 2017 orchestrated by Anti-Evolved groups like Pure Earth, Humanis First, and Sovereign America. Many militant members of these organizations were survivors and holdouts from Mitchell's regime, and many fear they could resurge from hidden fortification within the western Dead Zones.

2017 was a period of reconstruction, an era of change and possibilities in the wake of monumental tragedy. Now, three years after the end of the Second American Civil War, the United States is beginning to recover, but the road is long and full of perils. Lives once torn apart are being mended, communities torn apart are being reunited, and there is once again hope.

Volume I: The Way Back (February 2018 - February 2019)

The bottom line is this: New York City used to have multiple power sources. Yes, the Vanguard destroyed the Ravenswood Con-Ed plant, but we had backups. Why hasn’t Yamagato Industries done anything to repair those stations? Why is their localized power plant kept a secret from the public? Why do they insist on only supplying the Safe Zone with power generated in what amounts to a foreign country? I’ll tell you why: control. — Quentin Frady, Safe Zone Siren Editorial

Years can change people, they can change nations, or they can remind both that no matter how much things do change, they might just remain the same.

America changed, there's no doubt about that. It is a country divided along geographical boundaries between war-torn, recovering, and the dead zones. But it is also a nation divided among political and socioeconomical boundaries that remain much as they have been for hundreds of years. The have nots just have even less, and the haves are looking for an even bigger share of the pie.

2018 was a watershed year for the revitalization of America, in so much as the memory of what America once was. Yamagato Industries poured millions of dollars into the New York City Safe Zone, spreading a slow march of gentirification across the least-developed and most heavily-hit neighborhoods within its boundaries. While power and water were scarce, innovations in cellular technology meant that internet and phone access gradually crept back for its citizens. Yamagato Industries GhostNet and Alcatel Lucent's lightRadio brought the Safe Zone back into connection with the larger world.

But the more things changed, the more they stayed the same.

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In May of 2018 the offices of Democratic senate hopeful Frederick Medina was bombed by a Pro-Expressive group in retaliation for Medina's support of increased restrictions on SLC-Expressive ability use and more stringest registration. Though Medina lost his election bid, the publicity from the bombing helped launch his star in an attempt to fail upwards, becoming a springboard for a potential 2020 Presidential bid.

In April of 2018 the New York headquarters of Yamagato Industries was the site of a terrorist bombing. Thirty-three employees of Yamagato Industries were killed when an SLC-Expressive bomber teleported into their office and detonated an improvised explosive device. The teleporter survived, sparking an internal investigation into the culprits. Yamagato Industriesacting as a corporate sovereigntydenied US investigators access to the bombing site. The timing of this attack came just months after reports of Yamagato Industries transports being attacked in the Pacific Northwest Dead Zone, fueling speculation that an internal war between international corporations had spilled out of the board room and into the streets.

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Hot on the heels of these events, federal agencies moved on intelligence supplied by the Private Military Company Wolfhound to arrest a federal agentJason Piercein connection with the Anti-Expressive extremist group Humanis First. Pierce's arrest led to a landslide of arrests across the United States as Humanis First conspirators who had gone to ground following the conclusion of the Civil War were dragged into the light of day.

The operation to root out Humanis First sympathizers culminated in the discovery that rogue elements of the US Government loyal to Andrew Mitchell's regime had survived the war and were hiding out in a hardened facility in the dead zone of the American Southwest at a military installation known as Fort Irwin. Fugitive war criminal and former DoEA analyst Georgia Mayes among them. A joint military operation was launched against Fort Irwin in the summer of 2018, culminating in the defeat of the Humanis First operatives and the death of Georgia Mayes in the conflict along with a number of former military officers wanted for crimes against humanity perpetrated before or during the Second American Civil War.

In the months that followed the assault on Fort Irwin, sporadic violence plagued the United States as cells of extermist groups allied with Humanist First rose up and were summarily put down. Violence in the Safe Zone escalated to the likes of which had not been seen since its founding, including an organized raid on the 91st Military Police Battalion by organized crime attempting to steal military hardware. As summer was drawing to a close it was clear that the Military Police and SESA alone weren't equipped to handle the level of SLC-Expressive activity in the city on top of growing security concerns.

In response to escalation tensions in the cit, Mayor Caroline Short moved to reinstate the NYPD in a gradual year-long transition that would coincide with the reinstatement of SCOUT, an SLC-Expressive crime division of the NYPD. But it would be at least a year before the NYPD was ready to hit the streets, and the strangest days of the year had not even arrived yet.

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In October of 2018 people across the world reported having "out of body" experiences, where they saw events transpiring to themselves that they neither had control of norin many casesunderstanding of. These "waking hallucinations" were coupled with blackouts that caused an estimated 1,200 deaths worldwide. While the total global estimate of individuals who experienced the phenomenon is unknown, conservative estimates figure roughly .02% of the population may have experienced this phenomenon.

Scientists around the world debated the experiences that continued until roughly February of 2019 with little or no concensus. Coorelations were made by some scientific communities to a period of solar maximum in the end of 2018 to 2019, but no connection could be drawn to the actual experiences. Due to their nature as vivid hallucinations the veracity of the hallucinations could not be confirmed, though fringe speculation suggested that the experiences may be some form of "overlay" from "arallel dimensions", while others feared it may be visions of future events, though many of the visions appeared contemporary or near-contemporary in time.

The number of visions exploded in December of 2018 coinciding with the formation of a massive spiral-shaped aurora over the Manhattan Exclusion Zone in New York. The unusual aurora was believed to be in part created by a coronal mass ejection that skimmed Earth's magnetosphere, but also reports from New York suggest there may have been a terrestrial source as well, as eye-witnesses saw a beam of light rising into the sky from Manhattan. No US government agency has confirmed or denied the possibility of such an event.

By February of 2019 the "overlay" visions concluded and things seemed to return to normal, though fears of SLC-Expressive involvement in these hallucinations was at an all-time high, stoked by political opportunists worldwide seeking to leverage fear and uncertainty for power and fortune. Even America, fresh off a Civil War fought against these ideals, was not immune to the rise of such demagoguery as evidenced by the rising star of Frederick Medina.

But that was a worry for another day.

Volume II: Resurrection (February 2019-February 2020)

The Praxis hack represents the single largest technopatic hacking event since the end of the war and fears regarding information security in a post-war age have only grown and internationally the attack is seen as the first steps in what could be an SLC-Expressive cold war fought on a digital stage. — Mira Sadowsky, Deveaux Society Blog; June 12th, 2019

While Yamagato Industries continued its focused approach to the reconstruction of America, the United States continued to slouch further into disarray in the year leading up to the next Presidential Election.

In May, the Safe Zone hosted the first World's Fair in the United States since 1984. Major technology corporations from around the world showcased their cutting edge advancements. Yamagato Industries took the opportunity in this show to reveal a fleet of electric cars for the United States market, priced at well-below inflation value to make them highly accessible to the American buyer. New cell phone technologies means an expanded cell phone grid in the Safe Zone, and progress seemed to move apace.

While the World's Fair was happening, a hacker going by the name Scylla broken into the corporate archives of Praxis Heavy Industries and raided their confidential records, releasing a treasure trove of information in a voluminous collection of documents the likes of which hadn't been seen since the Enron scandal in the early 2000's. Scylla's data dump revealed alleged human rights violations being perpetrated by Praxis Heavy Industries and linked the company's biotechnology research to the Commonwealth Institute's barbaric history. As Praxis went on the defensive, it felt like the whole world was rapidly losing its mind.

In the Safe Zone, newly appointed Police Commissioner Marcus Donovan went about assembling a hand-picked team of the most highly-regarded and well-trained SLC-Expressive individuals to form NYPD-SCOUT, an Expressive-only branch of the NYPD intended to help solve crimes leveraging superhuman abilities. Donovan's goal in the formation of SCOUT was to serve as a beacon for what the NYPD, and policing in general, could be in the post-war United States. The NYPD stepped away from policing social and domestic issues, instead focusing on organized crime and corruption, illegal arms trafficking, and coordinating with federal law enforcement on cases like abductions and human trafficking. By July, the NYPD was ready to hit the ground running and provide real security and protection to the people of the Safe Zone, regardless of their economic status, race, or Expressive ability.

But outside of the United States, political turmoil turned into violence. In July of 2019, the Japanese government was rocked by the murder of the Minister of Justice Takumi Seko. The murder was at first connected with an American — Francesca Lang — and a Mugai-Ryu member Asi Tetsuyama. Lang was later cleared of her connections to the crime, but Tetsuyama eluded law enforcement, later staging a breakout at Fuchuu Prison, an SLC-Expressive detention center. Tetsumaya went to ground and the world waited to see what would happen next.

By August, back in the Safe Zone, plans were set in place for the military police to finally move out of the Safe Zone. Though rather than returning to Fort Drum, the 91st Military Police Battalion rolled into Staten Island to begin a reclamation of the land back from the organized crime elements that had taken the city over, in preparation for an official reintegration of Staten Island back into New York City. But at the end of August, that was the least of everyone's concerns…

On August 31st, 2019, a massive explosion at first believed to be a fuel-air bomb detonated in the remote, uninhabited northern reaches of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. The explosion rattled windows as far away as the NYC Safe Zone but managed to not spark any fires. Local law enforcement and SESA quarantined the area following reports of ash fallout from the region, but by early September the quarantine was lifted and the area no longer restricted. Photographers who ventured to the sight following the quarantine's lifting brought back images of a dead forest a mile across, where it looked like the life was sucked out of the ground and trees, leaving rolling fields of powdery ash. While it did not appear to be a conventional explosion, SESA did not indicate the site was created by any SLC-Expressive activity. Speculation runs rampant regarding the site and a potential SESA coverup.

As September went on, all eyes turned to Latimer Incorporated, the company that was going to launch the world's first interstellar spacecraft: the Itinerant Dawn. Built and designed with the help of SLC-Expressive engineers, the Dawn was to be a beacon of hope for Expressive and Non-Expressive relations and signal a new era in space exploration. But on the day of the shuttle launch that would send astronauts to the awaiting Itinerant Dawn in orbit— November 8, 2019— the anti-expressive group Pure Earth struck, destroying the shuttle on the launchpad that killed all crew members aboard. A coordinated attack at a UK news agency resulted in the deaths of all anchors as Pure Earth operatives delivered a manifesto, followed by what is believed to be an explosion of the Itinerant Dawn in earth orbit.

The tragic destruction of the Dawn was only the beginning, and before the year was out 2019 would have more blood.

In December, just as the world was recovering from the destruction of the Itinerant Dawn, a group of terrorists aligned with the international Pro-Expressive extremist group Mazdak attacked the Liberty Island Detention Center in the NYC Safe Zone, killing numerous security officers and releasing a number of detainees who had been apprehended by Wolfhound over the last 4 years for a variety of heinous crimes. The facility was so badly damaged in the attack that it was indefinitely shuttered, and Mazdak's operatives responsible remain at large.

As if in an effort to combat global instability, Praxis Heavy Industries announced at the end of the year the opening of the California Safe Zone in what was once San Francisco and Oakland. Several thousand immigrants to the first Safe Zone established in the PSW Dead Zone began the length process of integration into the first all-new city constructed since the end of the Civil War. Praxis Heavy Industries continued to press forward in spite of growing allegations of illegal activity and an increasing sentiment in political circles that their contract with the US Government may be operated in bad faith,

By the start of 2020 it felt like the whole world was catching fire again. Mazdak was pushing out of Syria into Turkey, leveraging SLC-Expressive soldiers to combat entire armies. The powerful pro-expressive group was growing bolder by the moment, but most of us had no idea just how bold they truly were.

But not everything was doom and gloom, some things were just weird.

On January 31st satellite surveys of Antarctica discovered a 2-kilometer wide stretch of forest surrounded by a ring of hurricane-like storms on the frozen continent of Antarctica. Expressive abilities seemed to be the only logical explanation, but the world marveled at the creation of something so otherworldly in such an inhospitable part of the world. Scientific research teams from around the world sought entrance to examine this phenomenon, but were blocked by the Norwegian government that claims the territory the forest appeared in. Within three months time, the forest had died and the storms dissipated, and two months later the Antarctic ice swallowed up the entire forest like it never existed. If the Norwegian government found anything there, they aren't telling.

But then it felt like everything came to a head. February 2020 came in like a hurricane and parked over the world for what felt like half a year. In the beginning of the month, an American presidential hopeful — Louise Noble — was arrested along with 375 other individuals in a joint federal operation to combat human trafficking. Noble and her coterie of wealthy confederates were kidnapping Expressives and forcing them to fight in bloodsport arenas around the world. Just days after Noble's arrest was made public, Mazdak launched another attack at a government facility on Plum Island in eastern New York, liberating a group of notorious war criminals that once worked for the Commonwealth Institute prior to the Civil War.

Within two weeks of these incidents, the situation in the United States rapidly deteriorated. The Justice Department announced it would be bringing Praxis Heavy Industries up on charges related to the information revealed in the Praxis Hack back in May leaving the California Safe Zone's status in question and the fates of the thousands of residents who relocated there up in the air.

On Valentine's Day, the secretary of SESA and the agency's public relation's director were abducted from the NYC Safe Zone starting a massive federal investigation into how this abduction could have been perpetrated. Days later an already-extant federal operation in Rochester New York uncovered a terrorist cell of a Mazdak-adjacent group known as Shedda Dinu that participated in the abduction. A raid at the group's headquarters in Rochester resulted in dozens of arrests and provided voluminous documentation linking Shedda Dinu to Mazdak and Praxis Heavy Industries, effectively damning the Chinese company.

In the midst of this chaos, SESA agents in New York were working two entirely different SLC-Expressive serial killer cases, both of whom appeared to be active within the New York area prior to the Second American Civil War.

At the end of February 2020, the United States was thrown into chaos. Praxis Heavy Industries, a leading manufacturer of cybertechnology and robotics, seemingly launched a military offensive targeted on the city of Detroit. A fleet of z-12 Qingniao aircraft arrived in Detroit on the morning of February 28th and deployed a private military force and military robots into the city streets. The US responded immediately by scrambling civil air defense which were shot down in a brief aerial combat over Detroit. News footage of this attack was spread wide across international media, and suddenly all eyes were on the US once more. In the first half an hour of the assault, fears were raised that this was a resurgence of the Civil War. But the situation proved far stranger.

Shortly after the US civil defense was shot down, a broadcast emitted from the aircraft by known international terrorist Adam Monroe who delivered the following ultimatum to the world:

"To the people who have persecuted my kind for hundreds of years, to the frightened and pathetic among you who orchestrated a genocide and escaped your justice by hiding yourselves in the current American administration… Today we say no.

"Today is the last day of humanity, when the ashes of your civilization will grow wet with the blood of traitors and cowards alike. Today marks the day when the Children of the Eclipse rise up to take their rightful place as heirs to the world."

"Today your world burns and from its ruin we will build a better one!"

"Humanity had its chance. They wasted it."

Shortly after this message was broadcast sporadic fighting broke out at a downtown church and a plaza near the Raytech Renaissance Center downtown between what appeared to be unrelated Expressives and Non-Expressives, among which was international terrorist Baruti Naidu and former Ferrymen celebrity Eve Mas. Footage of this conflict is incomplete and without context, though it appeared to be a confrontation between Naidu and Mas, culminating in Mas' death at the hands of a Praxis Heavy Industries strike force.

During this confrontation, one of the Praxis Heavy Industries aircraft over Detroit exploded from the inside. News media would later reveal that Ferryman hero and former Company agent Benjamin Ryans sacrificed himself to destroy a cruise missile intended to deliver and deploy a biological weapon in Detroit. Estimates suggest that tens of thousands if not millions could have died had the biological weapon (which is believed to have been a derivative of the nerve agent Gorgon developed by the Mitchell Administration during the Second American Civil War) been successfully deployed.

The event in Detroit culminated in a strange phenomenon originating from the conflict between Baruti Naidu and Eve Mas, when a combination of Expressive abilities appear to have created a shockwave that harmlessly passed through the city of Detroit and reverberated through the ionosphere, traversing the entire circumference of the globe. The energy discharge, of unknown origin, knocked out broadcast feeds and satellite communications worldwide for roughly 4 minutes and also created an aurora borealis that persisted over Detroit for several hours.

The remaining Praxis Heavy Industries fleet attempted to flee to the west but were met by US Air Force interceptors from Kansas City and were shot down over Western Michigan.

Benjamin Ryans' heroism is lauded in the media in the months following the attack while news media revealed that the United States had gotten wind of the impending Praxis Heavy Industries attack a short time before it happened and launched a joint strike on their US headquarters in California to attempt to prevent the catastrophe. War hero private military company Wolfhound led a surgical strike to the island of Praxia in the California Safe Zone and disabled Praxis Heavy Industries war efforts, opening the way for a full US military intervention leading to thousands of arrests.

In the months that followed, Praxis Heavy Industries collapsed as a global corporation and the revelation that their board of directors had secretly been co-opted by an international terrorist was a blow the already beleaguered company was unable to survive. Faced with allegations of human rights violations, terrorism, and outright acts of war the corporation collapsed and the fate of the California Safe Zone fell into question. With no corporation to continue the repairs on the city and no formal agreement with competitors to reclaim the reconstruction efforts, the tens of thousands of citizens relocated to the California Safe Zone were effectively stranded.

The California Safe Zone quickly fell under US Military rule while law and order is restored, but this cannot become a permanent solution and tensions within the region are at an all-time high.

Further complications to the scope of these events came to light in March when the State Department revealed that a joint effort by federal agencies in late February led to the disruption of a terrorist organization operating on American Soil. Shedda Dinu, a violent pro-expressive extremist group was revealed to the public as having operated out of Rochester New York. Thanks to the heroism of local and federal authorities, Shedda Dinu was toppled and their ties to Praxis Heavy Industries and the events that unfolded in Detroit earlier in the year were also brought to light.

The emergence of such a powerful and financially-backed pro-expressive terrorist group into the international stage sent shockwaves around the world. Nations that had already strongly advocated for Registration and took hardline anti-Expressive stances doubled down and dug their heels in, beating the drum of intolerance and fear harder than ever before. Violence against SLC-Expressives reached an all-time high worldwide in the four months after the Detroit incident and anti-expressive extremist groups like Pure Earth saw violence carried out in their name grow exponentially.

In response to these violent times, Mazdak (a powerful and influential pro-Expressive extremist group in control of the nations of Iraq and Syria) moved to expand their operations into Saudi Arabia and Yemen, sparking new waves of violence across the Middle East.

In June of 2020 a report published by the International Science Council (ISC) indicated a massive surge in reports of SLC-Expressive manifestations and registration numbers since the start of 2020. In the United States alone a staggering 245,000 new manifestations occurred between March and June of 2020, a shocking 14% increase in total SLC-Expressives nationwide in a matter of 3 months. Furthermore, the ISC reported several of these manifestations reported multiple Expressive abilities. "Mosaics" or people able to possess more than one SLC-Expressive ability were less than .001% of the Expressive population, though that number appears to be increasing.

Scientists are uncertain if this sudden boom in Expressive population has to do with the energy field that traversed the Earth at the end of February 2020, but governments worldwide are preparing for a paradigm shift the likes of which hasn't been seen since the revelation of people with superhuman abilities in 2007.

Volume III: Horizons (March 2020 — )

Ongoing

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