463,811 souls. One city.
Will you help them?
A flyover of Pearl City's downtown district
The bank guard stood as close to the bank entrance as he could, his Uzi machine gun at his side. Wish they'd let him smoke on an evening as damn cold as this one. Tires screeching. Wasn't a sound that uncommon next to a busy city street, but then the guard saw the bright yellow van causing it. He knew what that bright yellow meant. By the time he was pulling his Uzi up, he was already dead, chest exploded in a spray of red as UMP machine guns chattered in short bursts from the van.
The men swarmed out of the van in yellow suits and white dress shirts, looking like the world's oddest clowns bursting out of the world's largest clown car. There was nothing funny about the RPG-7 rocket they fired into the bank entrance. Steam from the blast mingled with the screams from the bank patrons. The yellow suits poured inside as smoke grenades filled the bank with a thick, noxious yellow smoke. Citizens caught the expressionless masks of the men, the yellow plastic smiling face that every yellow suit wore. One of the permanently smiling men jumped onto the counter, firing his UMP into the air. â€œFear not and instead grin at your fortune, for a chance at your life is within your grasp! Withstand us not and be rewarded with life! Those who resist will instead have cause for frown and fear. The Smile Syndicate is no laughing matter, so keep your heads and your calm!â€ He was framed in bright fire, that terrible grinning mask staring at them, as the RPG-7 fired again with thunderous roar. The bank's main vault melted from the blast and yellow grinning faces rushed back and forth with bags.
The van was shredded into a dozen pieces as the purple blast subsided. Yellow masks shouted and fired as a figure suddenly emerged from a blast of black, oily smoke in their midst. The tall, gangly figure, clad in a ragged black cloak, grasped a yellow mask. The yellow mask struggled for a brief moment, then lay still, formed into a statue of frozen dark smoke. A katana flashed in the foyer and a yellow masked face rolled as a figure of rock, marble and flesh began to toss men about. The slaughter began inside the bank while the rain poured on the gray streets. Emerging from an alley a man ran with a purse in one hand and a smoking pistol in the other. The casino lights from the nearby Grand Avenue created an unnatural glow, a cacophony of light that formed a haze of color. The lights of the ambulance shone through the rain.
Pearl City, the Devil's Den, existed for another night.
A sniper from the Pearl City Police Department's Special Incident Team Response watches over a bank entrance
Welcome to Pearl City.
Known to many as Devilâ€™s Den, Pearl was founded as a railroad boomtown and quickly became a vice-town as a place for cattle-drivers and railroad labors to relax and spend money. As the railroad moved past Pearl, it sought to increase its reputation as the â€œGreatest place for Dice and Vice!â€. It gained a reputation as a rough-and-bawdy town, a place to prove that you can hold your own. A gold rush near Pearl saw increased development in the city, followed by a discovery of oil. Pearl continued to develop as a good-time town. Then, during the Great Depression, the city got hit hard. Most of its resorts and hotels closed, casinos boarded up. The cityâ€™s economy plummeted. It survived by the petroleum industry, limping through the Great Depression.
As the economy begun to pick up during World War II and oil demands rose, a massive push to revitalize Pearlâ€™s economy was made. The City attempted to get several large factories, mostly plastics production facilities, built in Pearl. The plants opened and workers streamed in. Pearlâ€™s places of sin re-opened. All during World War II, Pearl began to reclaim its throne as the City of Vices. Then the War ended. With the War gone, the plants closed their doors and many of the workers moved away to start new, post-war lives. As the 50s and â€œsmall-townâ€ suburbia America arrived, Pearl found itself being left behind. Matters were made worse when the oilfields dried up and the petroleum industry moved on. The city sunk into a deep depression. The economy slumped and once again the City started to dry up.
The Mob in Pearl City buying weapons while backed up by their Meta, Chechen Crusader
The City desperately tried new things to boost its dying economy. A major campaign was launched in the 60s and 70s that advertised the Cityâ€™s â€œRelaxing Atmosphereâ€. It tried to cater to the new Hippie Culture and indeed there was some success. A large movement started, with the popular Westgreen Valley â€œhippie parkâ€ being its focal point. In the 80s, another push was made to prop Pearl up, this one billing its historical heritage and tourist attraction. However, the City couldnâ€™t shake the labeling of a â€œcheaper, seedier Las Vegasâ€. It was always seen as the city that couldnâ€™t quite make it. As one travel magazine stated, â€œthis pearl turned out to be a fakeâ€.
However, a new economy was starting to rise up, one of illegal narcotics. As the rather large criminal underworld of Pearl saw demands for drugs increase, they were quick to capitalize on Pearlâ€™s corrupt and weak law enforcement, the proximity to good border crossings and the major transportation hub that Pearl is. A powerful drug trade emerged. Pearl served as a point of distributing drugs that were smuggled in from the borders. Even though Pearl was a corrupt, twisted city, organized crime didnâ€™t seem to take a hold. Several times, the Mafia attempted to gain control of Pearlâ€™s flow of drugs but was fought off by local criminal syndicates. In the 80s and during the Mafiaâ€™s waning years in the 90s, it managed to get a good grasp on activities but still Pearlâ€™s criminal underworld was mostly ran by biker gangs and local syndicates. The late 90s saw heavy rises in street gangs as they attempted to control the drugs, prostitution and heavy gambling that was rampant in the city.
Today, Pearl serves as shaded beauty, a crumbling tower of former glory. Never reaching the lofty promenade it attempted to obtain, Pearl stands as a shadow of what it could have been. Fate hasnâ€™t been kind to City and it now sits as a massive underbelly, a dark and gritty town that has tried desperately to shake that title. It is a city of mostly corrupt people and many wicked deeds. Violence is very high, as warring gangs fight for dominance. Most of the organized syndicates have left Pearl, leaving it vulnerable and in chaos. The cocaine trade, formerly controlled by the Mafia and local syndicates, is up for grabs. The biker gangs, who controlled the crystal meth labs, are starting to fall out of power as street gangs take over meth production. Gambling and prostitution is still legalized in the City and many second-rate bordellos and casinos are open on the Cityâ€™s Grand Avenue.
It is a dark, gritty city. TIME Magazine rated Pearl as the â€œ#1 Most Foulest City in Americaâ€. Pearl is still a city where one can find a cheap good time. Itâ€™s still a place of the vices. Pearl still holds a reputation of being a place where you can prove your own. It is a true proving ground. A saying in Pearl goes, â€œIf you can make it in Pearl, you can make it anywhereâ€. Fights, drinks, dice, needles and women can be easily found. Pearl earned its nickname â€œDevilâ€™s Denâ€.
A NEIA team of Delta Force Operators engage Mechaman and his forces while receiving help from Mister Marshal and the Saber Sheriffs of Austin, Texas
Welcome to our World.
The world is slightly different then our own. People of extra-ordinary powers exist on Earth ever since itâ€™s beginning. These men and women possess incredible abilities that far surpass anyoneâ€™s imagination. Such people have been labeled â€œmeta-humansâ€ by the community. Some meta-humans use their powers for good, others use it to gain fame and glory while a few attempt to control the Earth.
Alongside the meta-humans are costumed adventurers, vigilantes with incredible talents or a simple courageous hearts. While they may not have powers, they employ techniques and gadgetry to give them in an edge. Together, these individuals are called superheroes and supervillians. Super-heroes and super-villains have been around ever since early history, creating legends and myths that surround popular culture. Great battles have waged for control of the Earth, but good has always managed to thwart evil. With the help of world governments and well-doing people, superheroes have kept the world from utter destruction.
However, the world has grown darker and more distrusting. The time is 2016 and meta-humans face a tough chapter in their history. Governments have begun to distrust beings with incredible powers. Fat men who talk in long speeches have passed more and more laws to limit these meta-humans. In some parts of the world, supers have been heavily restricted or outright banned. Some countries have ruled that all supers are â€œgovernmental propertyâ€. More and more metas begin their campaigns for global domination.
In the US, the country is facing a turbulent presidential election. Here, supers face only limited laws, requiring â€œchartersâ€ to act as a â€œcitizen constableâ€. Even here, enemies of the supers are amassing in great numbers and rumors spread. Laws keep coming to the Senate floor to restrict the supers even more. Bills restricting supersâ€™ charters to only work in their chartered territory are argued over. Fear-mongering organizations hype any mistake supers make. The supers' greatest enemy could be the political arena. The gathering of all superheroes in North America, largest organization of meta-humans and costumed adventurers in the world, is starting to take a more active role in politics. The Altruist Kinship is sending lobbyists to Congress as the supers watch the political scene, particularly the election, with a careful eye.
In Pearl City, the well-liked superhero team known as Security Actions for Freedom Enterprise (SAFE) has managed to obtain a charter in the largest circuit of the superhero world; New York City. With the departure of the competent SAFE team, Pearl City has erupted into a fresh wave of crime. Smile Syndicate and the Russian Mafia battle each other for control of the many Pearl casinos while they attempt to wrest control of the lucrative drug trade from the street and biker gangs. Small-time meta-villains plague banks and casinos while at night, soldiers from the aristocratic vampire families and gangs of wulvers war over the city. Meanwhile, a corrupt police force and a puppet city government spin the city deeper into debt and ruin.
Taking over the SAFE charter is a new group of meta-humans and costumed adventures. They are up-and-coming heroes, finally getting a shot as real official superheroes. The charter runs along half of Pearl City and the outlying areas, the other half is under charter by another superhero team, the morally ambiguous Devil's Hounds. They face many challenges and obstacles in a crime-ridden city whose citizens aren't as enamored of supers like most of the world is. This is their chance to make it big in the superhero circuit, to make a real difference. Will they succeed? Or will they succumb to temptations, power, and greed?
This is a world where bank guards carry machine guns and hotdog vendors strap on Kevlar and carry a Glock. This a world where construction companies are on standby to repair damage from a massive meta battle downtown. This is a world where the paranormal is normal and the weird is average.
A soon-to-be-victim sprinting down the streets of Pearl City late at night
Those Who Matter
Altruist Kinship â€“ The massive assembly of meta-humans and costumed adventurers that provides a unified voice to all chartered constables within North America. Almost all chartered groups are members of the Kinship, sending representatives to the yearly meeting. Each group has a Delegate that votes for the group in the Kinship. The charters are gathered under eleven different regions. Each region elects it's Cord, usually a powerful meta-human. The Eleven Cords are the prime policy makers of the Kinship and often travel to Washington to make the Kinship's voice heard. Each Cord serves for seven years. Overseeing the Cords is the Patron, the leader and representative of all metas and costumed adventures. Ever since the Kinship formed in the early 1700s, the Patron has been the all-powerful Oldfather.
- Smile Syndicateâ€™s main business plan is to move into an area and quickly eliminate criminal leadership with brutal and rapid contracted killings. They then begin to expand by hiring muscle and buying out the arms market in that area. The Syndicate moves in heavy weapons and specialists in an area of major resistance. Once they have an infrastructure in place, they pull off several high-profile crimes to intimidate local merchants. The Syndicate then moves into territory, establishes extortion rackets and snaps up business. The Syndicate tries to control the drug and arms trade, with extortion being the third priority. In drugs, the Syndicate mostly deals in cocaine and ecstasy. They attempt to control it via extortion of local street gangs and dealers. In arms trade, they provide local gangs with imported heavy hardware who â€œfranchiseâ€ themselves to the Syndicate. Criminals and gangs who resist get destroyed by extremely well-armed and armored foot soldiers.
A Syldorian vampire feeds
Syldora Family -
The most influential family in Pearl, the Syldoras are a powerful Vampire clan. They are an ancient family with ties going all the way back to Pearlâ€™s founding. The clan is structured as a patriarchal tribe. The current patriarch is Phaelon Syldora, a powerful vampire and one of the Sunwalkers, a breed of vampires that can exist in the Sun. Immensely wealthy, many of the Syldoras are of high society. The most elite aristocratic members in Pearl are Syldoras. While most citizens know that vampires exist in Pearl, it is not common knowledge that the Syldora is a vampire clan. There are
those who suspect...
Devil's Hounds â€“ The other superhero team, the Devil's Hounds have a charter that runs through about 55% of the City. Led by Mistress Shade, the Hounds have been surrounded in a number of controversies regarding them and accepting bribes from the Pearl City Police Department. They have a harsh, bleak form of justice, often â€œaccidentallyâ€ killing individuals and causing substantial damage to the city. The Kinship has passed three resolutions condemning acts by the Hounds but the group still maintains its charter.
Office of Civil Services (OCS) â€“ The OCS is a large department that handles all meta-human services. They grant charters, provide legal services, mop-up the aftermath of a supersâ€™ battle and generally act as the public governmental handler for supers. A massive bureaucracy, the well-known OCS is placed under the Dept. of Homeland Security and is the largest sub-agency.
National Extraordinary Incident Agency (NEIA) â€“ A small, fairly unknown agency underneath the Department of Defense. They keep records of meta-humans, conduct research, assist superhero groups in defeating villains and gather intelligence on belligerent meta-humans. They work closely with NSA, CIA, FBI and the Armed Forces.
Organization of Helpful Concerned Citizens
â€“ A worldwide pro-supers group, the American-based OHCC is the most powerful legal rights association for meta-humans. Its members include both metas and normal humans. OHCC has been in thousands of legal battles for metas and provides free legal defense for all chartered meta-human groups.
Peopleâ€™s Movement of the Ordinary, Global Liberty Watch, Privacy Protection Association
- All anti-super groups, the PMO is a rabid, extremist group who has called for complete and total banishment of all supers and mutants. GLW and PPA are worldwide watchdog groups who claims that supers interfere with private liberties. Other anti-super groups include ACLU, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.
Often the villain of SAFE, The Lich has struck at Pearl City numerous times