Paradigm Shift

The day that changed everything

With the recent event of Freedom City having to rely on vigilantism to apprehend the 42 escaped deviants from Blackstone prison, a special division of law enforcement has been established. S.P.E.A.R., the Super Power Emergency Assault Response task force. Their purpose is to provide an emergency response to any paranormal threat. This task force was made possible with the refinement of Dr. Lang’s PGH+ serum. Rather than granting the imbiber random genetic mutations, it pushed their physical attributes to the limits of human capacity; a super-soldier serum so-to-speak. A chosen elite were selected for this experimental process to form the S.P.E.A.R. task force. The task force is led by former 5-star General Mac Hurley, a genius tactician who has since retired from the sidelines of war.

But let us return our focus to the heroes of this story. It was just another day in Freedom City, but on this particular day, an up and coming Bonnie and Clyde decided to ascertain the PGH+ serum from an Astro Labs facility. Spot, a deviant that can create locational wormholes and portals to another dimension and Alyson Banks, a Deviant who launches super heated plasmoids from her hands. Luckily as the two begin their raid on the labs, our city sanctioned hero Eclipse was near the scene. Eclipse engaged the two Deviants, buying enough time for backup to arrive. The combined might of Eclipse, X-Factor, Agent Doe and Vandal was enough to bring the two to justice, but not before the Deviant known as spot was able to stow away several vials of the PGH+ Serum away in his unknown dimension.

With the two Deviants apprehended, S.P.E.A.R. squads arrive to clean up the area and transport the Deviants to Blackstone Prison. As they are escorted, X-Factor and Agent Doe follow the transport car to ensure everything is carried out. However, en-route to the prison, our two Deviants manage to overwhelm the S.P.E.A.R. members in the transport car, breaking free from their restrains and disabling the transport vehicle. As the two attempt to flee, X-Factor and Agent Doe engage. In response, Spot pulls the PGH+ serum from his extra-dimension and hands it to Alyson which she immediately drinks. She threatens to blow up the surrounding area if they weren’t let free to walk away. X-Factor radios in for backup on the situation, but as he does, Predator, who is overhearing all police frequencies, hears this call and rushes to the scene. To make matters worse, the standoff between our heroes and the Deviants are right in front of a School… and class just let out.

X-factor attempts to get control of the school to avoid any casualties if a fight breaks out while Agent Doe tries to apprehend the Deviants. Before long, Eclipse and Predator swoop into the scene to provide aid. With Predator focusing his attention on Alyson, deeming her the most dangerous, she begins to experience some intense abdominal pain. It seems the PGH+ serum she drank is having some unforeseen side-effects. Eventually, she keels over in pain and begins to glows a hot white. Taking this as his opportunity to put her down for the count, Predator deals the “killing” blow. But as he does, this pushes Alyson over the edge and she explodes…

As our heroes wake up in a daze, all they can see is destruction around them. The front side of the school is no longer there, looking as if a wreaking ball had completely demolished the school’s face. Bits of rubble are raining down and the sky is hazed with grey from all the smoke. Surrounding buildings and homes have been decimated and shrapnel from demolished cars can be scene thrust into the sides of those that managed to survive the blast. Alyson Banks lies unconscious in a crater from the result of her self-exploding. As our heroes regain their senses, sirens can be heard in the distance along moans of injured men, women, and children can be heard. Our heroes quickly take to action as they try to rescue everyone they can from this tragedy. Our heroes work well into the night and the next morning, along with entirety of the FCPD, FCFD and S.P.E.A.R. to mend this unfathomable descruction.

That afternoon, Mayor O’Conner holds a press conference. After the events that have transpired yesterday, Vigilantes are deemed just as much as a menace as Deviants. Ultimately blaming the Vigilante known as Predator for the destruction, it was because of his inexperience in handling a hostile situation that pushed Alyson Banks to self-exploding. Mayor O’Conner put the blood of the over 600 casualties on the hands of Predator, 60 among them children. As such, O’Conner has now set the S.P.E.A.R. prerogative to capturing Vigilantes equally along with Deviants.

With the public calling what transpired on that day as “The Event”, public sentiment towards Vigilantes plummeted. No longer were they viewed as the positive force against crime as they once were, many opinions now view them as much as a problem as Deviants. As such, civilians don’t “look the other way” when they see a Vigilante apprehending a criminal, they call the authorities.

While the majority of the public opinion blames Predator for what happened, there is a small opinion that puts the blame on the newly formed S.P.E.A.R. task force. They believe that it was due to their incompetence that The Event even happened. It was due to their incompetency that the two Deviants escaped in the first place which led to The Event happening. Predator was there just cleaning up their mess and the press is blackballing him along with the rest of the Vigilantes.

Even though it may seem like the world has turning on the Vigilantes, a handful of people still believe in them and in the ideal they uphold.

The Story So Far

Our story begins with three unsuspecting individuals who are pulled by fate into a single, dark room. We have Harker Highsmith, a Federal Bureau of Investigation officer that graduated at the top of his class. Then we have Jason Kingsley, philanthroper and owner of the multi-billion dollar corporation Kingsley Industries (who also stalks the night streets as the costumed avenger known as the famous Vigilante, Predator). Finally, there was Coleman Ford, a paranormal ex-con that is trying to turn over a new leaf.

These three individuals where brought together to pull a heist. Put more properly, they were blackmailed. Each of them were presented photographic evidence of someone dear to them being held hostage, and if they were not to cooperate their loved ones would be executed. Harker was fighting for the safety of his wife and daughter, Coleman for his girlfriend, and Kingsley, too, for his girlfriend.

Strongarmed by a group of thugs working for the individual responsible for our heroes’ current predicament, they are brought to the Eastern Seaboard Bank to conduct the heist. Using their natural talents and connections, they were able to successfully ascertain the object of interest for their “Contractor”. Jason Kingley used his notoriety to get access to the bank’s secure safety deposit box area. Once clearance was granted, Coleman proceeded to “rob” the bank under the guise of some common ski-masked thug. Harker was able to disable the security systems and delay the arrival of the law enforcement to ensure the heist was a success.

With the thugs now in possession the object, they ditch our heroes to deal with police that are sure to arrive at the scene. However, Coleman would not stand being blackmailed and then left to dry. So he decides to pursue their getaway van… on foot. Leaping from rooftop to rooftop, he manages to trail the thugs to their rendezvous point at a warehouse on the Riverside Piers. Kingsley, managing to slip by the police with the story of being an innocent bystander as the bank was robbed, retreated to the shadows to don his Predator persona and also proceeded to track the thugs to their warehouse.

Predator and Coleman storm the warehouse, making short work of the hired thugs guarding the place. Oddly enough, with each “deathblow” delivered to the thugs, they would vanish in a puff of smoke; leaving behind no evidence. They were nothing but diversions to delay our heroes long enough so that “the Lady in the Lab Coat” could escape. Predator and Coleman decide to search the place for clues, managing to find what appeared to be a blueprint for a gun of unknown origin. With nothing more for them here, they decide to flee the scene.

Harker, still at the scene of the bank heist, manages to play off his involvement as happenstance at being at the bank and luckily being able to get a handle on the situation before it got out of control. During the scene, Harker is handed a phoneline with his wife on the other end. She begins to pour out her heart as to how worried she was when he didn’t come home last night… it would seem that his wife and daughter were safe and sound the entire time! Kingsley and Coleman, too, have similar revelations as they return home to voice messages on their phone from their respective lovers. It appears that they all have been duped into pulling off the heist!

Interum News Report: The item stolen from the Eastern Seaboard Bank was a rare Topaz acquired from a lost tomb in Egypt. The Topaz was unique in that it had faint electrical properties, able to hold a slight static charge.

The next day, Harker gets a call to investigate the warehouse where Predator and Coleman raided. Seeing the wonton destruction, Harker begins to investigate for clues. In the back room of the warehouse he finds an apparatus, far too destroyed to recognized what it is. Upon further investigation, he discovers crystal shavings within the device that produce a static charge when rubbed together. Wrapping up the investigation, Harker is escorted by to the precinct by a fellow officer.

That same day, Kingsley calls Coleman and offers him a job as head of his personal security. He was quite impressed with the way he handled himself at the bank. Offered a luxurious salary, Coleman immediately accepted.

No sooner than his first day on the job, Kingsley Weapons factory is assaulted by a group of deviants. Coleman proceeded to the scene to secure the Weapons factory, and Kingsley arrived under his guise of Predator while Harker arrived at the scene the officer escorting him to the precinct was called to the scene. Three deviants and several thugs were found loading three semi-trucks with metal that belonged to Kingsley. Bulldozer, a hulking looking Deviant. Hotrod, a speed demon with fire manipulation, and Datsun, who seemed to have telekinetic powers. Needless to say, the Deviants were engaged by our three heroes. Managing to subdue the Deviant known as Bulldozer, the remaining two decide to flee the scene on the semi-trucks with whatever metal they had. An intense mid-city chase scene ensued. With the Deviants en-route to their destination, our heroes manage to disable two of the three semi-trucks and forcing Datsun to abandon the scene; leaving only one semi-truck and Hotrod making it to the rendezvous point – the Docks.

Arriving at the Docks, the heroes run into our “Lady in the Lab Coat” once again, now identified as Dr. Lang by Harker Highsmith. She was a brilliant scientist with the ability to reshape and rearrange matter at the sub-atomic level. Years ago she went rogue as she began doing human experiments on paranormal inmates at Blackstone Prison, trying to discover the secret of paranormal abilities.

Dr. Lang, commanding a large group of thugs, issued the order to buy her some time while she “took care of business”. Transforming the semi-truck into a big metal dome around herself, she proceed to work while our heroes dealt with the thugs. With the thugs delaying the heroes long enough, Dr. Lang begins to wheel two very large suitcases toward a helicopter pad on the docks where upon a helicopter was in route. With the thugs beginning to overwhelm out heroes, Predator decides to go after Dr. Lang to stop whatever she has planned. Only able to load one crate onto the helicopter, Predator managed to land a critical blow to Dr. Lang, severely wounding her. While at the same time, Turbine, Freedom City’s resident Paradigm, arrives at the scene to turn the tide of battle. Fearing capture, Dr. Lang transmutes a raft of out the docks while Hotrod uses her fire manipulation powers to provide thrust to propel away from the scene. In their rush to flee, they leave behind the other crate. As the helicopter attempts to escape, Turbine pursues after it. But before he could reach it, a blinding light emits from the helicopter and a beam of energy strikes Turbine in the chest causing him to fall unconscious into the river below.

As the helicopter makes it getaway, Predator dives into the river to save the drowning Turbine. With Turbine safe on the docks, police reinforcements arrive to the scene along with the paramedics. Predator then flees the scene, narrowly escaping capture at the hands of Harker. With the thugs arrested and Turbine rushed to the hospital, Harker investigates the crate that was left behind. Inside he finds an array of what appears to automatic weapons, complete with instructions and specifications. The weapons turn out to be miniaturized railguns manufactured from the metal stolen for Jason Kingsley and the Topaz from the Eastern Seaboard Bank.

With the conclusion of the events in that happened at the docks, Freedom City’s defender, Turbine, is left in a coma. Without their protector, the entire city felt a little uneasy. But that doesn’t stop the day-to-day of this bustling city. Continuing with the story, we focus on Harker Highsmith. In the past two weeks, there have been two missing person reports filed with the FCPD. The first missing person was Amelia Serano, a paranormal who could turn herself into and manipulate water. The second was Shane Conner, who had the ability to manipulate earthly material and turn his skin as hard as stone. This series of missing persons caught the attention of Harker as both individuals were paranormals. He considering that the two reports might be connected somehow and that it was worth investigating. He was assigned a partner to Aid him in his investigation, Agent Doe. A former CIA agent now freelance detective with many connections in high places.

Not long into their investigation, they are requested to investigate a scene were a reported abduction has taken place in a Duplex building. The abducted individual was reported as Gregg Mills, who happened to be another paranormal – one with the ability to manipulate fire. After performing a throurogh investigate of the crime scene, Harker and Doe cannot accept that the recent strings of missing persons and now this abduction are just coincidence. After some thought, Agent Doe comes to the conclusion that someone is gathering up paranormals who have the ability to control each of the four basic elements: Earth, Fire, Water, and… Wind. Doe believes that Turbine is their next target and requests reinforcements to be placed where he is receiving medical care. Never wanting to leave a case half done, Harker and Doe also proceed to the medical clinic to provide any assistance they can.

Harker and Doe set up watch on the floor where Turbine is resting, along with a small number of police officers as reinforcements. Their hunch was right, only after a few hours did a strange gentleman in a trench coat arrive at the hospital seeking to take Turbine away. However, this man proved too much for our heroes to handle, managing to escape with Turbine. Luckily, it was protocol for all Paradigms in service for a city to be fitted with a tracking device. The original intention was for a Global Positioning Tracking System able to give ETAs on Paradigm aid arrival or to coordinate several Paradigm in a combined effort if necessary. However, it was quite useful in tracking down the unconscious Turbine.

The location beacon brought Harker and Agent Doe, reinforced with a SWAT team, to an abandoned toy factory. Appearing to be deserted at first, with a little investigating they found a secret passage to an underground lair. As they descended down the stairs, they could hear the sounds of whirling machinations and various devices. As they reached the bottom, they saw Dr. Lang and around her the two missing persons, the abductee and Turbine. However, they were too late to stop her evil plan. Using her powers of transmutation and her taboo knowledge gained from her experiments on paranormals, she managed to extract the power essences of the four captured individuals and placed them into a single vessel; creating an abomination with the powers of the four elements.

She had overloaded her test subject. He began to go berserk, attacking anything in sight. A great battle royal ensued. In the end, Harker, Doe and the SWAT team managed to subdue to the abomination but let Dr. Lang escape in the process. However, they confiscated mountains and mountains of research data from her secret lab. Most notable of all was a serum referred to in her notes as PGH+, the Paranormal Growth Hormone. Subsequent analysis revealed that this serum could permanently grant an individual with paranormal powers or augment those of one who already has them. Along with this was also terabytes of of data regarding the paranormal genome: included detailed notes on what makes paranormals different, how their powers work, etc. Needless to say, this was a major find for the scientific community.

Sadly, the four victims at the hand of Dr. Lang were rendered inert, lacking any powers that they once had. Turbine, Freedom City’s golden protector, was now permanently stripped of his powers.

With a passing month, scientist do preliminary test on chimpanzees to test the effects of the PGH+ serum… and with great success. Harker, feeling responsible for what happened to Turbine, volunteers to be the first human subject of the PGH+ serum and decides to take the role as acting Paradigm of Freedom City for the time being.

One night, the Predator, on his nightly prowl of the city, encounters a heated dispute between the two major rival gangs of Freedom City: the Burning Blades and the Mystics. The two have always been at a territorial standstill. The Mystics used their paranormal powers to enforce their turf while the Burning Blades used advanced tactics and extreme training to maintain their turf. However, today would be the day that would change that. Predator had unknowingly landed in the middle of a gang war that was about to engulf the entire city. The Burning Blades were now armed with the miniaturized railguns that Dr. Lang had manufactured and believed that the scales now tipped in their favor to claim Freedom City; so they declared war. Every street corner of Freedom City was engulfed in the gang war. Rioting from the general public soon followed and pandemonium spread throughout the city. It looked like the entire city was engulfed in flames. Things were getting so bad that Mayor Michael O’Conner pulled the maximum security enforcements from the Blackstone prison to quell the gang war and the riots.

Soon after the maximum security enforcements reach the mainland to secure the city, a large explosion is seen on the Blackstone Prison Island. Harker, the now resident Paradigm, is requested to investigate the prison. Agent Doe, still technically his partner in investigations, decides to tag along. Predator, leaving the gang war and the riots to the Maximum Security, also decides to investigate the explosion at the prison. As our heroes arrive at the island, they intercept Dr. Lang and her highly radioactive assistant leaving the entrance building at the top of the island. Determined not to let her get away again, our heroes engage. This time winning the fight, subduing both Dr. Lang and her assistant. It appeared Dr. Lang had returned to the prison when it’s security was lax to retrieve DNA samples of all her human experiments when she secretly tested on the paranormal prisoners here at Blackstone.

With the immediate matter taken care of, our heroes return to the city to aid in regaining control. After the longest night Freedom City has ever had, order and control was brought back to the city. Harker also received a hero’s welcome for finally being the one to capture the elusive Dr. Lang.

The incident with Dr. Lang on the Blackstone island inadvertently lead to the Breakout of 42 highly dangerous and super powered villains. In order to have rapid acquisition of the escaped inmates, Mayor Michael O’Connor implores the paranormals of the city to band together under the city government to form into teams to track down these escaped criminals, even going as far to granting amnesty to all vigilante activities until all 42 inmates are caught. Furthermore, he will remove all criminal activity related to vigilantism from their record if said vigilante becomes an official paradigm.

And so, some vigilantes signed up to become paradigms while others took advantage of their amnesty to continue to do what they do best without threat from the authorities.

Over the course of a year, all 42 villains were captured – concluding the vigilante amnesty. The crime rate in the past year was shown to be the lowest in all of Freedom City history! It seemed like the unconventional system of unbridled vigilantism was keeping the city the safest it has ever been, but it had to come to an end; laws are laws.


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