3RD MISCELLANY


Excerpts from J. Walsh: 'Arms and Armor: Industrialized Superpowers'.

Perhaps the most important of these, though, was the advent of a young man named Callum Forsyth in the year [REDACTED]. A teenager from Las Vegas, he came into his powers right after 9/11. To understand why and how he became a global industrial power, one has to understand the situation in America at the time

At that point, national sentiment towards metahumans was one of distrust and suspicion. Not without reason, either: they had just experienced one of the biggest acts of terror ever committed, perpetrated by two metahumans. An entire city and tens of thousands of people, wiped off the map. The entire southern coast of Lake Michigan rendered uninhabitable by deadly radiation, to the point where some began referring to it as the 'Second Chernobyl'. Even now, [REDACTED] years later, the entire area is still quarantined by the government, and even stepping foot inside the walls they have erected is an instant death sentence.

More than the loss of life, though, the incident became responsible for one of the sharpest reversals in policy ever seen (excluding, that is, those that came about due to a change in regime). Pre-9/11, the United States had one of the laxest policies towards costumes vigilantes in the world, behind only Australia and New Zealand. The period is often referred to as the Golden Age of Superheroics, for obvious reasons. Costumed vigilantes often worked closely with police and emergency services, and existed in the public eye like any other celebrity. Although the Watchtower Conglomerate’s heroes were the only ones with actual legal status, public opinion and general goodwill, plus a healthy superhero culture, kept these technically-criminal crimefighters in legal good graces. Some even gained status as national figures: there is of course the famous photograph (pictured right) of Pyrrha shaking hands with then-President Bush. Multiple attempts at creating a national registry of metahumans had been swiftly shot down in the Senate, as public outcry against them only grew greater with each attempt.

Afterwards, all of that changed. Within a month of a tragedy, a bill passed the House and Senate near-unanimously, requiring the registration of all superhumans within the United States. Those with powers were given two months to voluntarily register themselves consequence-free, and two more months with a fine. The Department of Miscellany, a formerly-minor government sub-branch, was flooded with funding and elevated to be the premier handler of all metahumans in the United States. The Metahuman Emergency Response & Intelligence Taskforce was established soon after, and the former vigilantes were given a choice: either register and join the Taskforce, register and retire immediately, or be considered a criminal under the law.

Initially, they had trouble upholding this threat, as the few meta-rated prisons in the country were either private contractors or Tower subsidiaries. The issue of incarceration had always been one of the main talking points of any registration bill: although the Tower had a higher success rate than the private enterprises, neither was particularly effective at containing the truly determined supervillains. The sudden arrival of Blacklight Services on the world stage, however, provided a solution. Appearing as if out of thin air, the mercenary army contracted with the U.S. government to create the Nevada Metahuman Penitentiary Facility, the huge underground labyrinth in the state's expansive desert that is more commonly known as The Pit. Boasting a successful long-term incarceration rate more than twice that of any other, it quickly became the standard, with many countries across the globe often shipping their most dangerous repeat inmates to be held there. This represented a complex web of tangled agreements and backdoor politics, which…

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And so it was into a very different world of superheroics that Callum Forsyth emerged. As little as a year earlier, there was little doubt that he would’ve taken up heroics in some manner, or possibly even supervillainry. However, he instead arrived onto a scene of fear and mistrust of heroes, and in fact metahumans in general. The ‘cape culture' in the United States had become effectively dead, and even the Tower had pulled back their activities to a bare minimum. Many would have simply given up, or followed the current and joined MERIT or the DoM, but Forsyth saw another way.

His power was a standard projection type, creating strands of a strong, thin, silk-like substance. Multiple supers with similar abilities had made a good showing of themselves, but he took a different approach. Testing the qualities of his silk, he discovered that it bore similarities to spider's silk, in that it was incredibly light and flexible. More important, though, was the fact that unlike some projection powers, once it was created it stayed that way. Although admitting in interviews that the process was incredibly tiring, he nevertheless was able to produce staggering amounts of the material, which he took to calling Steelsilk. He made the first jumpsuit by hand, teaching himself to sew from scratch, and then posted a video on the internet of it withstanding a full three seconds sustained fire from an automatic rifle. The video, of course, went viral, and orders began flooding in. Within a few months, Forsyth Defense Apparel had gone from one young man in his garage to a fully-fledged company, the first in the world fully based around super-made products. FDA opened the floodgates, and soon the market was inundated with young supers trying to make their fortune.

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Despite making what is essentially military-grade body armor, FDA has rebuffed any and all attempts at limiting their customer pool. Steelsilk is freely available to anyone with an internet connection and cash to spare, even though the government has made many attempts to change that, some above-board, some less so.

This Walsh seems to know an awful lot about some fairly private information. I’d like to suggest a detail be placed on him, see if he’s being informed. Failing that, a tap should be the bare minimum.

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On the other end of the spectrum is the fittingly-named Spectre Armaments. The company exists behind a maze of shells and false fronts, a legal maze that no-one has yet been able to unravel. And countless many have tried.

Although they are most well-known amongst law enforcement agencies and other professions as the manufacturer of shock rounds, Spectre Armaments are far more than a one-trick pony. It’s impossible to buy from them directly, but if you know the right people, you can get your hands on all sorts of powerful, exotic and highly illegal weaponry.

I’d like to upgrade that suggestion to a firm direction. How does he know this?

All of their weaponry and equipment is Forged tech, or otherwise utilizes meta-made materials to make it unique. Despite this, all attempts at reverse-engineering their technology, a strategy which has had success with other Forged tech before, prove futile. Much like the company themselves, there are multiple layers of fail-safes, obfuscations and safety features specifically designed to prevent the inner workings being tampered with, or even observed. The most notable incident of this was back in [REDACTED], when a Spectre weapon accidentally landed in the hands of a Boston engineer, Angela Masterson. Eyewitnesses reported seeing the building Masterson was in, as well as three to either side of it, warp in an unnatural manner, before being sucked into a tiny sphere. The sphere, with a diameter of approximately ten centimeters and the combined mass of the seven buildings and all of their contents, immediately sank straight through the earth, and is yet to be recovered.

That entire incident was classified! Who is this guy?

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The example I was shown, from a source that will remain anonymous, was a large rifle. It was sleek and slightly bulbous, its surface a dull chrome. Thin lines of light ran down its sides, and nearly invisible symbols were etched into the metal in various places. I was warned by its owner not to touch it. They implied it would not be pleasant for either of us.

The target for the demonstration was an old tree. A tap on one of the symbols caused a small scope to pop out of the main body of the gun, and they aimed down it and pulled the trigger. The lights on the gun pulsed, but nothing came out of the end. Instead, a section of the tree was encased in a sphere of pure black. The section of the tree outside of it immediately began falling in, and kept doing so until nothing was left. When the sphere disappeared, nothing but ashes filled the space it had occupied.

The gun bent light, the owner explained, refracting and enhancing it within the sphere until it was hot enough to melt titanium. It had no visible power source or ammunition, and seemed no worse for wear for having just destroyed an entire tree, long-distance, in a few seconds.

Given the display, I had no doubt in my mind why even owning these weapons is considered tantamount to a war crime. If the criminal element in many cities got a hold of technology like this… I balk at the thought.

Okay, I’m making the call. Priority One on Walsh. Send a strike team, whatever’s necessary. Make sure this isn’t published, and find out what he knows and how he knows it.

I suspect we may have a leak.

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