From November through February, Team Liberty (with an ever growing roster of increasingly competent members), and non-mambers including The Bat and Nightwing, The Spider, and Buddy Kirby (in San Diego), appear more and more often in news and world events. Buddy Kirby, the professional wrestler, remains one of only two supers who focus outside the New York and Millennium City super-activity centers, both in southern California. Buddy has, so far, proven the equal of all villainous challengers by himself.
Part of the increase in numbers and activity can be attributed to Emperor X and Dr. Victor von Domovich, two second-world Dictators who have become active as super villians since the Poisoning. Part of it must be attributed to the appearance and popularity of The HERO Channel, a cable channel focusing on supers and their activities. Part of it owes to the fact that some Poisoning survivors are simply tired of laying low or outright hiding and they come out anyway (usually without any costume), regardless of the consequences.
Team Liberty benefits from its government sanctioned status even thought it no longer gives allegiance to government control. Survivors of The Poisoning approach the Team in the hopes of finding a place where they can be who they have mutated into in the safety of membership in the Team. Not many who apply are accepted; the Team enjoys its favor and the freedom that affords and they are very selective about who they publicly acknowledge as members. A super- (or meta-) who has operated with the Team is not automatically a member, it just means they have been close enough to be weighed, measured, and usually found wanting in some way. Non-members the Team has operated with include The Bat, Blackwing, The Spider, The Knight, Luna, American Gladiator, and Pyro. One went rogue, some were not invited to join (for reasons unpublished), and others respectfully declined.
The public awareness and fear of supers, (or metaXs) and their power has similarly increased. The particularly bold actions of the two Dictators has played a major part in this, and has drawn effective responses from the worlds governments. Economic sanctions have severely curtailed the offensiveness of their operations. Many lone-wolf survivors ply their “talents” for personal gain at varying ambition levels.
More than one non-victim has sought the publicity that comes with being a super through a variety of methods. Some have turned to technology, many have fallen for scams, a few have been accepted to The HERO Channel’s “So You Want to be a Super Hero” show, and a few more have made their way to Dumnonia or Latveria to become powerful even at the cost of being subject to a dictatorship.
Even more bizarrely, four separate shipments of recalled Nuclear Fructosion were either hijacked or just found awaiting shipment while still abroad and the contents offered on the black market. These have been used for suicide, murder, gambling (only about 10% of the product was tainted), and occasionally a desperate person will buy it in hopes of becoming a super.
INTERNAL MEMO FROM PRIMUS
Date: February 13th
To: All Law Enforcement and Investigative Personnel in the Perview of the Department of Homeland Security
From: J. Cranton Lawless; Director of PRIMUS
Subj: Ongoing Investigation of Survivors of The Poisoning
Effective immediately, the term “metahuman” shall be used in all references to investigation subjects. “MetaX” may be used as an abbreviation where appropriate. Use of other terms, including culturally common terms such as “super-” or “mutant” is a violation of DoHS policy and is grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination.
This memorandum is the reference document for defining the term “metahuman.”
Signed – J. Cranton Lawless
EXCERPTS FROM “THE NEW YORK BUGLE”
SECTION B, PAGE 3, EDITORIALS (The entire page, with photographs.)
DATE: MARCH 8th
HEADLINE: MONSTERS WALK AMONG US
BYLINE: J. J. JACKSON
As for this weekend’s activities at the Dupree Industrial Complex, I will not repeat facts already well documented by this paper. However, it should be clear to even the most naive of individuals that despite the smiles for the cameras and patriotic posturing, the self proclaimed Team Liberty is not the shining example it purports it’s self to be. Originally established under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security, they have rejected official authority and operate as they choose. There are allegations of ties to Meta criminals such as the Bat; all but proven. As previously reported, this meta-gang of “heroes” interfered with the arrest of the Bat and his accomplice, Blackwing. Also confirmed by several sources is an alliance with the notorious Spider. When will officials stop winking and turning away and step up to their responsibilities by acting against the elephant in the room or even the far less intimidating Jack Frost, who now pays their bills for them?
… Conflicting reports make it unclear as to the involvement of Team Liberty in the death of Dr. Robert Blake. The unfortunate Dr. Blake was heading up important cancer research for the Dupree Pharmaceutical Division. While members of Team Liberty may not be directly responsible for his untimely demise, they must accept responsibility for some part in his death. Dr. Blake and the possible contributions that he might have made to mankind will be greatly missed by us all …
… Equally irresponsible is the addition of yet another minor to dangerous, life threatening situations in the person of Kitty Pryde …
… No matter how metas are presented to us, no matter how they are packaged, monsters walk among us!
AN EDITORIAL REPLY FROM “THE NEW YORK BUGLE”
SECTION B, PAGE 26, EDITORIALS (In a single column at the bottom of the page.)
DATE: MARCH 15th
HEADLINE: RE: MONSTERS, MARCH 8
We are not monsters. We are more like those who are being described as normal than they might care to admit … even to themselves. We share, for good or bad, all of the virtues and foibles ascribed to man. We eat, sleep and dream. We watch too much TV and surf the web too long. We hold our families and friends dear, feel rooted to our homes and search within and without for what our senses can’t tell us. We disagree on what soft drink is best or on a favorite food (Jolt cola with a double shot of vanilla and a garbage pizza with extra sauce). We work too hard, take life too seriously and don’t tell those who are important in our lives that we love them, enough. We are just like anyone else.
We didn’t ask for this. We didn’t go looking for the situation we find our selves in. But with any power or skill comes a responsibility, for meta and human alike. There are normals out there that pack as much power, in their own way, as any super. And they should act responsible and be held accountable too. Individuals should be treated as such and not lumped into a group. Both sides are drawing lines, dividing us into opposing camps.
I understand, you are scared of us. You are afraid of what we will do. We all fear the unknown. I understand because we hold similar fears about you. You sour our stomachs and pop out from under our beds at night disturbing our sleep. You are the unknown factor in the equation.
We hear rumors of meta registration. There are already government agencies that seek us out, tracking our movements. They look at us with a suspicious eye. And maybe rightly so. I have seen Metas do things that would earn us this scrutiny. But I have seen those who have died to save those that would oppose them. It says in the Bible, “Greater love hath no man than to lay down his own life for another.”
This is America. I find it interesting that those who push for registration are in favor of reparations to those interred during WWII. They would scream the loudest at racial discrimination. They want to save the spotted owl. Yet with as much conviction and vigor as they would champion these causes, they work to discriminate against people they find “different.”
Such thinking is unhealthy and only leads to acts that will separate us further. Yes, I am a meta. But I am a citizen and should be treated as such, protected by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and all the laws that govern this great nation. I should not be discriminated against because of my race, creed or color. All I want is to be treated as an American, with the same rights, privileges and dignities as any “normal” American citizen.
But should you choose to separate us from yourselves and society, then mark us with little yellow stars and march us through the street. And when the parade’s cadence turns to a goosestep pace, do not fear the monster among you, beware the one within.