PLACE is an enigmatic high-tech organization with a sinister, shadowy agenda that few are even aware of. Spanning across the globe and into near-Earth space, PLACE has tendrils in innumerable military, government, corporate and other entities. It is also, almost singlehandedly, responsible for the existence of Super-humans.
Numerous lairs across the world
Believed to be in the 1960s
The exact origins of PLACE have been kept deliberately obscure by its leaders, aiming to cover their tracks and reduce the risk of its existence being inadvertently revealed. What is known is that the organization came into existence in the late 1980s, born from the dying days of the Cold War. By the 2010s, PLACE had been steadily growing in size and strength for decades, accumulating power, resources, personnel and influence from across the globe. It was also a (covert) leader in technology, due to its control over the Futuretech group, giving it access to an array of technologies not seen anywhere else in the world. As the decade progressed, PLACE was poised to become a pre-eminent world power.
And then the Nanoclysm occurred.
Like everyone else in the world, PLACE was deeply affected by the event and its fallout. As with the rest of the world, PLACE found its communications and technology disrupted, becoming erratic and unreliable at the best of times. Entire lines of technology and research needed to be abandoned or re-tooled to function efficiently in the post-Nanoclysm world. The setbacks were considerable and the costs staggering, but at the very least, PLACE’s leaders believed that they had made up for lost ground and lost time.
Once more, PLACE was poised to move into a position of pre-eminent power across the globe. They had weathered the storm of the Nanoclysm and come out better for it; stronger, more capable and better equipped, and ahead of the rest of the world in many regards. However, for all that, there was one unexpected side effect of the Nanocylsm that they were not ready to deal with.
The Rise of the SuperhumansEdit
In the years after the Nanoclysm, rumours began to circulate of individuals possessing or exhibiting superhuman abilities. While these were initially dismissed by its leadership, the PLACEholders, as being little more then flights of fancy or urban myths, those expectations were dashed to bits by a series of events.
The first consisted of several attacks on PLACE installations that defied all expectations; those involved were either stronger, faster and more agile then any human could be, or exhibited unusual abilities. The leadership of PLACE were at a loss to explain these abilities, but some speculated a rival group or counter-terrorist agency that had access to PLACE-level technology and had somehow evaded their knowledge.
The second incident, however, was far harder to explain away. A PLACE team caught a young man skulking around the fringes of one of their bases. Capturing him, they tried to place him in the base’s lock-up. Instead, the individual, terrified beyond all comprehension, underwent a startling and inexplicable transformation.
Within moments, he had changed from a typical young man into a massive armour-plated superhuman instrument of destruction. Striking out in a mixture of fear, confusion and rage, he went on a rampage through the facility, destroying it and killing or injuring all of its personnel before escaping. Recovered footage as well as interviews with the few survivors made it clear what had happened, leaving no ambiguities as to the exact nature of the attack.
Combined with the previous attacks, the PLACEholders reached a startling conclusion. Superhumans existed and represented a very real threat to their goals.
In the face of these new threats, PLACE began development of several projects aimed at making up lost ground to the superhuman menace. The first and simplest of these projects were to augment their already high-tech agents and improve their capabilities. In short order, new and exotic weapons systems were developed and deployed that improved their capabilities. Laser weapons, sonic stunners, electroshock gauntlets, net guns and other esoteric weapons came to dominate the PLACE arsenal.
However, that was still not enough; the weapons were better, but those who wielded them were still human. In response to this shortcoming, a second project was launched, aimed at further augmenting the capabilities of PLACE’s soldiers. The end result was the creation of combat-capable Cyborgs, flesh and bone melded with metal, plastic and high-tech circuitry. Stronger, faster and tougher then a normal human could ever be and equipped with built-in weaponry, the new Cyborg soldiers were a force to be reckoned with. However, they were also painfully expensive to develop and deploy, limiting their numbers and usefulness.
A third project was developed in parallel, using material and evidence recovered from the destroyed lair. Samples of the prisoner-turned-monster’s blood revealed that they had an abnormally high nanite count. Working from this, PLACE’s scientists at Futuretech synthesized a serum based on the monster’s nanite-enhanced blood, as well as a series of treatments to best introduce it into a target body and maintain consistent levels.
A series of ‘volunteer’ PLACE agents were subjected to the treatment with mixed results. Several of them rejected the serum outright, while several more died horrible and painful deaths. The survivors, however, underwent a transformation, albeit on a smaller scale then the initial monster that they were derived from. Increasing in size, they became stronger and more powerful, gaining superhuman strength and stamina. They also suffered from further side effects of the transformations including diminished intelligence, homicidal rages and a propensity for their hearts to explode.
Considering their options, PLACE then embarked on a radical new line of development. Using their cyborg research as a launching pad, the organization began work on a series of combat-capable robots to supplement their force and deal with the superhuman menace. Combining all of PLACE’s research into one effort, the project was ambitious to say the least. However, in this case, ambition proved to be too much for PLACE’s technology.
The resulting Nemesis Series combat robots were technologically sophisticated. Equipped with independent artificial intelligences driving advanced mechanical bodies and equipped with advanced energy weaponry, the Nemesis Series were unlike any previous fighting force. They were also ponderous of thought, slow to react and poor tacticians that needed constant human supervision to be effective. None the less, they were another step in the development of PLACE technologies.
While all four of these projects had yielded mixed results, they had however paved the way for PLACE’s next step.
The PLACE 6Edit
PLACE began a survey of their membership, subjecting them to an array of experiments and measurements. The first stage of which was to measure the Nanite levels in their bodies to measure concentrations. This yielded one consistent result; the highest levels were found in those who were between thirteen and twenty at the time of the Nanoclysm. This paved the way for their next step, which was to try to force super-powers to manifest.
Based on past experiences, the only known situation that had triggered superpowers in potential subjects was one of extreme stress. As a result, that was used as the basis for PLACE’s program. Those with the highest nanotech levels were subjected to a harsh, grueling and downright punishing training regime to subject them to extreme stress and tension, hoping to force those powers to activate. The results were somewhat mixed, to say the least.
Of the entire array of agents subjected to the new program, only six of them actually activated and developed powers. Even then, those were not entirely without side effects; of the six of them, one was horribly burned when his powers first manifested while he was not able to control them. Even more unexpected was that another agent underwent a startling transformation, one altogether different to their previous experiences.
Despite these setbacks, the program was declared to be a success. These six super-powered agents were returned into PLACE service, albeit reorganized into a special, separate team outside of the normal PLACE command structure. Designated as simply the PLACE 6, this force was intended to be the spearhead of not only PLACE’s anti-superhuman efforts, but also just the first in a larger superhuman army.
The relative success of the PLACE 6 prompted PLACE to launch the next stage of its superhuman program. Starting in five years after the Nanoclysm, using their corporate, military and government contacts, PLACE covertly surveyed individuals across the planet. From this data, they collected a list of individuals who were most likely to manifest super-powers. At the same time, PLACE constructed a secret subterranean facility in Kirgizstan that would be used as their superhuman training facility. Staffed with agents, researchers, scientists as well as the PLACE 6, the facility would be key to the organization’s new vision for the future.
Once the facility was complete, the second stage of PLACE’s recruitment began. Using the information they had culled, PLACE had constructed a list of those most likely to manifest super-powers; chiefly those between the ages of 18 and 25 (ie, 13 to 20 at the time of the Nanoclysm) who had extraordinarily high Nanotech counts. These individuals were recruited with offers of education at an “exclusive private institute” which offered world-class university-level courses. To further sweeten the incentive, they added an extensive compensation and incentive package to those who joined, as well as their families.
In truth, the programs were shoddy and half-complete, designed specifically to induce stress and tension in the Project Activation candidates. The marking schemes were deliberately flawed so that candidates would be in a constant state of ‘barely scraping through’ with hectic schedules ensuring that they would be under constant stress. Additionally, the candidates were subjected to a rigorous physical training regime to push their physical limits. Every last part of the program was designed to induce the same conditions that activated the PLACE 6’s powers.
Those that did show signs of activating were quietly drugged, incapacitated and transferred to the second, stage of the facility (With the added bonus that random disappearances were adding to the stress of the student body and encouraging other activations). Once there, stripped of all their possessions save for a PLACE Suit, the new recruits were assigned a code-number and inducted into the new PLACE superhuman corps.
These newly activated superhumans were then subject to a brutal training regime designed to discover the full extent of their abilities. In many cases, the recruits were forced to face off with each other or the PLACE 6, often in unfair or brutal conditions. At the same time, they were also trained as soldiers, and put through exercises to test their abilities and simulate battlefield or operational conditions, such as attacks on high-profile targets.
The recruits were expected to be brutal and harsh, and were encouraged to mis-treat each other in the name of advancement. Those who towed the line and followed orders were treated well and given perks and advantages, such as being able to chose their own name. The result was a collection of angry young superhumans in a high-pressure environment being trained to kill.
What came next was inevitable.
The Place 6