Shadowforce Archer: "The Presence"
Nuclear Apocalypse +2 Months:
Society broke down as the fallout and climate change spread. The early optimism that the United States and other governments around the globe would survive intact proved unrealistic. Rampant anarchy, disease, and violence became just too much of a burden and so much was lost in the initial strikes. Crops died. The systems that kept the giant metropolises of the modern world failed. A new world now festers and bleeds in the ashes of the old one.
A month after the bombs stopped falling, the US and Canada entered into a formal pact called the “United North American States” (UNAS) complete with a new flag, motto, and joint government plan. Around the globe, the fractured nations sought to unify with pre-WWIII allies to retain some semblance of power and authority over their lands and peoples.
But that is just paper for most people. The majority of the populations of the world never see any government intervention or control and most of the early relief efforts failed under the sheer weight of the catastrophe’s aftermath. There were just too many sick. There were too many injured. There were too many hungry… too many driven mad over what had transpired.
The early promises of the politicians and military leaders proved empty. Civil war, plague, and famine on biblical proportions plunged the globe into a new dark age as the infrastructure, trade, and international assistance that all modern societies had become dependent upon quickly rattled apart and ceased to exist.
In North America, Mexico was hit even harder by the chaos that followed than the nuclear exchange that left the troubled nation largely unscathed. In the end, she was undone by the problems that were only being kept in check prior to the war rather than the bombs themselves. To quell the unrest and economic collapse that soon surfaced, the legitimate government attempted to join the UNAS pact, but was opposed by a nationalist revolt covertly funded by drug cartels and currently unknown interests. Mexico plunged into a full scale civil war. UNAS responded by invading Baja California to make a safe place for American refugees that have fled the west coast hot zones. Already stretched thin, UNAS left its southern neighbor to fend for herself or die trying.
To compound the chaos, Archer soon learned that the source of their intel on the Shop mutagenic farms in North America was fed to them by none other than “Eden”: Helix’s super computer that resides in the bowels of the now irradiated Lodge. The coordinated strikes that Archer carried out on those Shop bases resulted in containment failures similar to the one experienced at Ellsworth Airforce Base. In more than one instance, the mutants were released by Eden’s direct intervention as it lurked in the Shop’s computer systems and security infrastructure. Mutant creatures and psionic clones now infest the wilderness in many areas around these raided sites and their numbers seem to be growing as they spread.
Nestled in the safety of the independent stronghold of Billings, Montana, the team uncovered the reason for this when they analyzed the samples recovered from Ellsworth. To successfully jump species, mitigate the long-term fatality rates, and accelerate transformation time, the Shop bonded the SUPERLUMINOL and PROMETHEUS Chem formulas with an advanced evolutionary virus which forces the mutagenic effects on the cellular level through infection alone. This Forced Evolutionary Virus adapts the Chem genetic treatments to the genetic code of the host creature. To the team’s horror, they quickly discover that the virus has become highly morphic in its own right and has evolved to make the chem treatments highly contagious by blood contact. Perhaps by accident or maybe even by nefarious design, the Shop creatures encountered at Ellsworth and the other mutagenic farms are actually biological factories for the FEV—capable of spreading the mutations to other creatures and perhaps even other species.
These events, coupled with the brutal tactics that the now overt organizations like the Shop and the Hand of Glory are using to consolidate their power bases have taken the world in a direction that no one could have anticipated. It has caused a popular backlash that none of the covert powers expected or fully appreciated. In the end, the villainous organizations that sought to remake the world were only half right. It is true: the average survivor of the apocalypse does fear the sudden introduction of super science, mystic power, psionics, and mutant beasts…
…but that fear did not create the subservience that the organizations needed to assume total control in their theaters of influence. Instead, that fear gave way to unprecedented levels of good old fashioned hatred, mistrust, and survivalist xenophobia. Small pockets of brainwashed, dominated, and duped populations who are loyal to various factions excluded, few survivors are ready to look to the obvious cause of the cataclysm for salvation. “Normals”, as they now call themselves, largely blame everything abnormal for the apocalypse carte blanche and rarely give anyone time to spin the situation or offer alternate explanations for what has taken place.
To most survivors, it doesn’t matter who supposedly started the war or who was trying to stop it and failed. They don’t’ care about the organizational factions or trust any information on the last century of clandestine politics no matter who is telling the story. In the end, it was the “Freaks” who did this and the only way to get back to the way things were is to destroy them all… the Shop, the Hand of Glory, Archer… they all have to go along with everything that they created.
Another odd occurrence is that Villian X has become the post-apocalyptic wild card. He and his loyal associates have been attacking The Shop overtly in the months since the global nuclear exchange. His goals are not fully understood, but he appears to be breaking away from The Plan and taking advantage of every group’s weakened position. He appears to be on his own side.
Perhaps he has always been that way from the very beginning.