"What's your favorite scary movie...?"
A widenet of crime, fun, and one of the country's most defining eras.
Nowadays it's looked upon rather divisively by those who were around to live through it and those who look back without the tint of nostalgia blinding them.
You had Reagan, Madonna, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, and in the eyes of the world?
The end of the Cold War that'd claimed so many lives with the US and USSR working through proxies to try and get the edge on the other.
.....But what if there was more to it than what you thought you knew? The stuff that you'd never see in a documentary or history book?
Come and take a peek at 'Return to Sender' to find the answer.
So, this is my second or third(?) attempt at a group RP that primarily centers around original characters/OCs! I've been in a bit of a writing mood lately and thought I'd try to flex my writing muscles a bit more by trying to take on the task of GMing once again! The universe that 'Return to Sender' takes place in is one that I've worked on quite a bit in my free time/am nearly 200 pages writing a story set a couple decades ahead! In this universe, humanity from as far back as when the last neanderthal still roamed, there existed a concept that came to be known as 'Gifts'-strange abilities that many acquired from the moment they were born. A child born wreathed in flames, no mouth, glowing yellow eyes. Others had the skin of a reptile and the forked tongue to match. Some possessed the strength to out muscle the fiercest animals that nature had to offer and for centuries, the abilities were praised and seen as 'blessings from God', which God depended on what religion you happened to follow.
But as the centuries changed, so too did people's belief. For some those who were Gifted were heretics! The ability to fly?? Witchcraft! Hell magic born of copulating out of wedlock or making a deal with the devil! When Europeans eventually began to settle America, the once carefree image of sharing your Gifts with your community was shunned. No longer were they to be celebrated or demonstrated openly. The same went for those still living in the heart of the European continent. Monarchs could be quite fickle when they wanted to be and paranoia also wasn't too far behind. What was stopping a Gifted young man with the ability to tear through an army singlehandedly from deciding they wanted to lead a revolution and see the king deposed, possibly even torn apart by their own hands in a barbaric fashion? Fearing this kind of thinking and wishing to lock it down before any such thoughts became too popular among the general public, the Great Powers of the time made a decree that had only been broken twice since the late 1400s(the German Empire and the Third Reich in particular were very keen on revealing the existence of 'Gifted' spurring their neighbors into action, though as you've likely read in your history books over the years, the reasoning you've been taught to believe couldn't have been farther from the truth) when it was first put into writing:
-No one government shall acknowledge the existence of Gifted individuals
-If at such a time any government does deign to acknowledge the existence of Gifted, necessary measures to rectify said issue will be taken. Up to blockades, sanctions, and even war. No measures can be completely taken off the table when seeking to preserve the order and society we as a people all hold dear.
-Any Gifted who openly displays their abilities and proclaims the existence of this phenomenon will be punished to the fullest extent of their home country's law. Their claims will be written off as hearsay, the ramblings of the insane, and no further comments acknowledging the situation will be made by either the royal family or Parliament.
-If a member of Parliament or Royal Family is found to be a Gifted, this will be kept from the public at all costs and any hints of attempting to out a Gifted of position of authority will mean the swift death of that individual and their family and associates if any.
-Above all else: The Gifted or Gifts do NOT exist, and they never have.
The leaders of Spain, Portugal, England, France, and so on all signed the agreement and overtime, new countries like the budding United States became a signatory (after making good use of their Gifted colonists to throw out the British with the aid of the French and Dutch) as did Prussia, Austria, Russia, and although with some extreme reservations, China (in the form of the Qing Empire) signed as well. Aside with some modifications here and there to temper any outdated phrasing, the agreement has been held to this day. But, wait, you ask, you've never heard of any such document. Surely, it'd be of some great importance and be held in a library somewhere and you'd be right! Each country that signed and became a party of the agreement held their own copy but it's been kept under lock and key for centuries and while most Gifted going about their lives couldn't care less about overthrowing the government, those who kept their powers on the downlow had a feeling that the government didn't look fondly upon them for soooooomething like 'hey, don't get any wise ideas about killing the president, mr. 'i can shoot fireballs from my hands' ' Exceptions to the contract are very rare and as mentioned before shared a key player in that Germany and it's people played a major role in both instances. For most of the late 1890s up to the early 1900s, The German Empire was lead by an absolute wildcard of a man, Wilhelm II, and once he became Kaiser upon the death of his father, the eccentrics only became more public and on an international scale. He spoke openly about being jealous of his British counterparts having such a powerful navy but pondering what the use of it all was for if the German Empire found a Gifted strong enough and brought them out to the English Channel, he could tear the ships apart as easily as a child playing with toys in the bath. Something that was laughed off by the media of the time but behind the scenes, other European powers grew deathly nervous over Wilhelm's erratic nature. For those countries that possessed significant colonial holdings like the UK, France, Belgium, and even Germany itself, the thought of the natives hearing the Kaiser's rambling speeches and feeling empowered to use their abilities to resist the Europeans was a horrible thought.
If that were to happen then it could set the global status as it was into total disarray, so thankfully, the Triple Entente(consisting of the UK, France, and the Russian Empire-which was facing it's own issues with Gifted revolutionaries gaining steam) found an excuse to intervene and change the narrative from 'what is the Kaiser talking about?' to 'WAR WITH GERMANY, THE DEFENSE OF 'INNOCENT BELGIUM', THE ASSASSSINATION OF ARCHDUKE FRANZ FERDINAND' etc etc. The US had hoped to keep it's hands out of the European conflict, fearing that getting involved might lead to exposing Gifted who lived in the 'land of the free' to European society and trying to lead a life away from under the invisible thumb of Uncle Sam. Eventually though Germany's continued recklessness forced the United States's hand and they too joined in the war. Japan also participated, nominally under the guise of taking Germany's colonies in the Pacific but also to try and gain respect from the European powers/perhaps get an opportunity to train the Gifted that they secretly strongarmed into the military-just as other major powers had done in lieu of the contract that supposedly banded them all to utter secrecy- but at the war's end with Germany's allies crushed and Germany itself forced to capitulate, Japan was left with the proverbial cold shoulder.
With the Kaiser fleeing into exile, Germany collapsing into the weak Weimar Republic, the victors of the conflict that would later become known as The First World War believed that the secret existence and subjugation of Gifted could continue without issue. There was some slight, and by slight, I mean extreme caution emitting from the newly formed Soviet Union/USSR which to it's people proclaimed the image of the 'proud and powerful Soviet people' but kept the wording juuuust vague enough to not inspire any kind of desperate retaliatory measure from the Allies in order to keep a lid on their collective 'big secret' and also because with the immense population that the new country carried, better to try and keep a firm enough lid on things until you got the 'ship' in order. If a hundred people claiming to be Gifted rose up, it could be suppressed, if a thousand rose up, it could be hidden away and all of them executed or disappeared, if a million rebelled? Then you had trouble and the Soviets wanted to avoid that as much as possible.
Come what we now know as 'World War 2', the newly empowered Germany threatened to reveal the existence of The Gifted outright/sought to assert a new world order with Gifted in leadership and crushed their neighbor Poland's forces under the rush of their Deutsche Hochbegabte Einheiten, which overwhelmed the young nation's armed forces though they put up a valiant effort that would go down in history. The majority of Western Europe were thoroughly overwhelmed by Germany so openly using their Gifted in publicized conflicts. France and the UK had primarily kept the use of their Gifted to their colonies to keep the order, away from prying eyes, and any particular units which specialized in utilizing Gifted weren't nearly as populous as the ones Germany kept in their reserve. Japan and Italy also followed suit with the latter using their nation's Gifted to utterly crush Abyssinia's army with the rest of the world mostly standing by. China's resilience proved to be more than Japan, even with the weight of their own specialized Gifted Army/Naval units could handle, though the colonies belonging to the US/European powers were easy enough pickings. Eventually, both the US and USSR were pulled into the conflict though not by their own choice. Just as had been the case with the previous war, Germany was left defeated but, unlike the fate that the Axis Nations suffered in our world, Japan/Italy/Germany were more thoroughly punished with each of the Allies(the UK, The USSR, and US) sending a Gifted individual from each of their countries to Berlin, Rome, and Tokyo, and utterly ravaging the country's remaining forces and leaving all three in utter ruins. To this day, the identity of these three Gifted remains a mystery except to those old enough to remember the carnage first-hand and live in misery as the younger generations write off their encounters as fake stories, delusions, or just misremembering.
Breaking the 'big secret' that the world had tried so hard to keep under wraps couldn't be so easily brushed off after all. With the Allies totally victorious and the Axis unable to oppose them, any mention of the Gifted being used at all/their sheer mention were forbidden topics and any mention of the topic was severely punished. As the generations wore on, any mention of 'German ubermensch' was seen as just propaganda and not to be taken literally as had been the case in reality. But the war was not without it's consequences, the European powers struggled to hold onto their empires without letting the cat out of the bag and revealing more than they cared to of their own nation's Gifted. So, many a deal was struck for many colonies to gain independence in return for agreeing to continue subjugating their own Gifted, and letting the world continue on blissfully unaware of the truth. Key exceptions however being France and Portugal who refused to keep up their colonies without a fight. When the natives started crushing entire French and Portuguese battalions in droves and facing outside pressure from countries like the US to let things go before drama spread back to the continent and perhaps even across the sea, Portugal and France reluctantly parted with the empire that they'd spent so much time cultivating.
All just to keep the truth locked away.
Cue the 1980s
MTV was fresh and the nation was rearing to go, to soar to new heights.
The youth were bustling and many reached out to different cliques to try and find some kind of acceptance. Punk, goth, preppy, and more. All while the government started it's, heavy-handed as it was after Ronald Reagan was practically swept into office, approach towards drugs and other illegal substances there was a underlying message behind it all.
And it wasn't to the stoners vegging out on their mother's couch, watching new episodes of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
It was a gun pointed firmly at the new generation of Gifted youths running amok in the country. Many were proud of the abilities they'd found themselves with from the moment they could first open their eyes. To them the government was stifling their freedom to live the way that THEY wanted! Which meant that starting from 1980 onwards, you'd see a spike of Pro-Gifted militias/movements striking out at state/federal governmental facilities in order to try and get across just one statement: They weren't going to take this lying down. Not anymore.
Others like Jeremy Jones had zero idea about the fact that, stationed in California as he was, that he'd been living in a country populated with people who could perform such ridiculous feats as being able to fire energy blasts out of their hands, be strong enough to toss a tank through the air, or durable enough to walk through a hail of bullets and only have their clothes be torn to shreds. When he and many other Americans in their late teens to early thirties found pamphlets in their mail of an exciting new career opportunity!
Hey there, patriot in the making!
Want to make your family, friends, and most importantly your country proud of you?
Then join up with the A.O.F.U.A.P today! We're the American Organization For Unity And Peace!
Send in your resume to the address given along with your phone number!
Don't wait! Send in your application as soon as you can!
If you're lucky, you might just be one of the many Americans who'll help sweep aside the divisions plaguing our beautiful nation and usher in a bright cleanse of pride! In not just our country but ourselves as Americans!
Do Uncle Sam and favor and sign up today!'
Jeremy had admittedly been feeling somewhat restless after graduating highschool and was about as red-blooded American as you could get! He despised communism and thought that the Soviets needed a real good talking down to! If it weren't for the whole concept of M.A.D, he would have been the first person down at a recruiting station. But as it stood, his mother for better or for worse wanted her family together in case nuclear destruction ever became more than a horrifyingly close nightmare. So, it was with bated breath that he waited for any kind of response from the A.O.F.U.A.P-gosh that whole organization name was a real mouthful, wasn't it? Maybe in private he'd just call it the A.F.U.P. Americans for Unity & Peace! When the phone finally rang, his parents were elated! Their son was going to get a chance to help out the country that they'd put all their blood, sweat, and tears into supporting in their own youth.
Only the reality was less peachy than those cheesy pamphlets presented. The organization had originally been devised as a way for parents with Gifted children that they couldn't care for/believed that the government might be able to help(for a certain degree of 'help') to communicate their child's existence without publicly outing them. It also acted as something of a tipline for concerned citizens who'd noticed 'strange or supernatural activity'-extremely likely to be the result of a Gifted acting out and believing or hoping that nobody had seen. But then you had people like Jeremy who genuinely wanted to help out where he could. Told to meet at an office building all the way in San Francisco, a good hour or so away from his home in Vacavile, Jeremy was so enthused!
What he expected was a proud job to serve America and keep her safe.
Which, sure, that was part of it. But as was explained to him in a cold, dark room, with a federal agent who went by the name of Thomas Gorman, Jeremy was going to be a new recruit in the organization's true goal: which was to discover and either recruit or neutralize any 'Gifted' that popped up across the country. What was a Gifted? Why had he never heard about this in school? All questions that he definitely got some kind of answer too. Only thing was that if he ever tried sharing any of the knowledge he'd gained in those answers? Him, his immediate family, and any distant relatives would all be killed. No minced words, no hesitation. Just cold hard truths. Action needed to be taken for some Gifted had decided to take a stand and resist being ignored and their lives trampled on! Terrorist attacks had been reported all across the country, mostly at federal or state governmental buildings. Casualties were low, for the time being, but something had to be done and with god as his witness, Thomas Gorman would rip out the weeds that were infesting his country.
Now, the question is....
What will you do?
Will you participate in the A.F.U.P(rolls off the tongue muuuuch easier) as a Gifted, naively believing it to be a chance at a better life, and come to terms with having to bring your own kind to 'justice?'
Or will you attempt to just live your life how you always have? Sure, you're different, a lot more different than most people. But you only have one life and you can't spend all of it in fear! Just 99% is all.
Maybe you're tired of the status quo and you just want to wreck shit up! Make Reagan see what you're doing and that you're coming for HIM next! This country will bleed for your right to freedom!
Sorry for the long-winded introduction! Just felt it was a touch necessary!
Here is the CS format!
Name: Thomas Gorman
Gift name: [HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE RAIN?]
Gift Type: (i'll explain this more in a bit!) ELEMENTAL
Gift abilities! N/A ; )
Bio: If you have ANY questions, please don't hesitate to ask! I'd be more than happy to brainstorm with any potential players! I'm sure y'all are super creative!
Personal weaknesses: a chronic drunk, blinded by patriotism to a fault, violently hates communism/the sheer thought of it
FACTION: You workin for the feds(you gotta be at least 18 to apply, at least on the record, if you're younger? Well, it's not like Gifted have any rights)or are you taking a stand against the injustice that's been perpetuated on your people for centuries? Or....maybe you're just a highschooler trying to stay out of trouble/keeping your Gift on the downlow?
-Elemental(Thomas for example is an Elemental Gifted.) The individual's body takes on an appearance similar to the element that they control. But they always have distinct features like glowing yellow eyes that lack pupils, no mouths, speak through telepathy unless wearing a glamour, and no visible ears. But a key fact to note is that they are not actually MADE out of said element. If one were to shoot Thomas with a regular handgun, the bullets would just splish-splash through his body as though you were shooting at a water fountain or a waterfall. He CAN patch himself up with powers/his skin does grow over his wounds like skin spreading over a human-shaped bag of water, but he's still flesh and blood behind it all. It just takes meeting some terms to be able to actually do damage to him. That's what's called as 'Meeting a Condition.' If you were to blast Thomas with a hot enough weapon, it'd 'steam' his body and allow brief access to his 'real' body for a few moments, allowing him to be shot and punched like any other person. The same would go with an Ice elemental. If you were to blast him/her with a fire blast for example, it'd do actual damage to them, open them up for other attacks. Fair warning however in that Elementals can train themselves to endure the terms of their condition. Thomas is one such example in that say throwing a burning piece of debris at him won't be enough to activate the condition. Something more along the lines of slashing or attempting to stab him with a burning implement is likely to be more sufficient.
That said they don't need to be around their element of choice 24/7 in order to utilize it. Thomas can conjure up his own water at will. For some of those who are born with viscous bodies(think being an oil/tar/water elemental) they still have solid bodies but as explained earlier, certain 'conditions' need to be met before they can be struck (an oil elemental needs to be burned, a tar man needs to be splashed with water to give him a solid state to punch/shoot, and a water man would need to be frozen or 'steamed') Their internal organs still do exist, they're just not easily accessible through normal means. Elementals are considered some of the most powerful Gifted and this is partially why Thomas was sought after by the US Govt/trusted with the position as a leading agent of the A.F.U.P. They are also the most feared as numerous contingency plans have been put into place to ever keep Thomas under the govt's leash....or so some people suspect.
-Physical (Think along the lines of someone like say Luke Cage who's super strong and has tough skin) Gifted who fit into this class rely more on buffing up their physical stats. Think along the lines of Luke Cage or Younger Toguro from YYH as both have abilities which supplement or enhance their physical stature/strength. Most of those who fit in this category don't tend to be long distance fighters by nature.
-Mental (Think Professor X) These are Gifted who might not have super strength or in some very rare cases be absolutely debilitated/bedbound by the strength of their gift draining most of their physical faculties. It might also just be very mundane abilities and nothing to write home about. In another story I'm writing set in the same universe, there's a doctor of a certain morality named William Nocturne who possesses a Gift called [I WALK TO MY OWN SONG] that allows him to understand information at a faster rate than 'normal' people. Learning languages can be immensely difficult for the average person but for someone like Nocturne it's a task that he could spend a week or so at and get the hang of in no time.
This type also includes giving them greatly enhanced telepathic prowess. Whether this comes in the form of greater intelligence or in Odd from the Modern Crusaders's [AUX] allows him to compensate for his blindness by printing a mental play by play of what audibly happens in the next 15 or so seconds. When given time to further evolve his gift it's changed to [AUXILARY] and he now has very limited TK powers with being able to project telekinetic shields/blasts or to try and bind somebody in place. But this takes a great deal of energy out of Odd and is really only used on a regular basis to better line up his bullets by manipulating their trajectory. While Physical!Gifted need to activate their powers, those who possess mental gifts are constantly 'on' with [AUX] only deactivating if Odd is knocked out or killed.
-Mutation (Think like Tokoyami from MHA or The Lizard from Spider-Man) These are Gifted whose powers either greatly alter their physical constitution or give them something that one might consider outright 'unnatural'(a man growing claws/a tongue that can be used like a whip/a lizard man etc) and [MR BRIGHTSIDE] is like this for Jean Pajaro(another 'Modern Crusader') with it normally manifesting as just angel wings when she calls out her gift's name. But after being fatally wounded, Jean can 'return' with her corpse shifting into a gigantic, distorted version of herself with burning skin and razor-sharp teeth. Along the lines of a phoenix resurrecting. Overtime the energy will fade and Jean will return back to normal but with a scar of whatever originally killed her still present on her person.
Now that I've explained what Gifts are, I'll state the obvious in that many major powers were looking to capitalize on the war-making potential. After a few nasty wars here and there however, it eventually became an unsaid agreement between the major powers that it'd perhaps be better to try and quash any signs of Gifted causing a general ruckus among society. If they just let the Gifted live like anyone else and openly flaunt their powers who's to say that a group of them wouldn't feel so inclined to march up to the White House and overthrow the president? Or blow up the Kremlin and take over?
Who's to say...?
OK THIS TOOK ALL DAY BUT I'M HAPPY TO BE FINISHED. IF Y'ALL GOT ANY QUESTIONS FEEL FREE TO ASK : )