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 - December 2018)

Happening Now

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