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Thread: The Blue Line. Paragons of the Hearth.

  1. #81
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    A plethora of notable normals

    Everyone who does something you don't yet know how to do, has a super power - to you.

    Letting go for a second of player levels and the increased capability that they come with, simply engaging in an uncommon skill with some martial or survival application makes those people more capable than you by default. Better is relative and subjective, but one cannot argue the increased capability that comes with improved health, vitality, vigor, coordination, strength, agility, reflexes, senses, mental acumen and more experienced insight and intuition.

    The Hearth is a world for normal adults, teens, children, elders and the infirm. Having normal adult abilities, skills and proficiencies is NOT being inept or incapable, it is entirely normal.

    Having just a step under adult normal abilities is not a problem, it presents certain challenges at times, but doesn't necessarily mean that one cannot function in the world - many do. However there are many normal adults who engage a particular skill-set, avenue of expertise or field of knowledge well above the "norm". These don't all have to be martially capable, sometimes political, investigative, bureaucratic, medical and social expertise and savvy can wield far more influence and effectiveness in a world so often ruled by these elements.

    Notable people of every stripe abound in every field, they may not be the day-to-day mainstays, but they are present - giving rise to inspiring tales and letting a glimpse of the extraordinary into people's ordinary lives in unexpected ways. These are not the geniuses or Olympic athletes of the world, but they are notable and note-worthy in whatever industry, field or profession that they engage themselves fully into. They are not the bulk of ahminity, but they are a significant percentatge of the population.

    Then there are Consummates, both Olympic and Prodigious that push the boundaries of what it means to be ahmin, all the time. Never are they spurred on by pleasant childhoods, kind words and a lack of trauma, they each have to find in themselves the resolve and the reasons to push past limits and achieve the impossible. That said, the actual international Olympics are filled with normal ahmin who live a certain unique lifestyle, a lifestyle of trying to become or prove that they are the best in the world. There, people with optimal genetics prove their capability in conquering their limitations to the best of their body's and minds' capabilities. However that is not the only place where people who live a unique and uncommon lifestyle push themselves to unprecedented limits.

    The world of Archon Operations (ArcOps) is filled with women and men who push their bodies and minds to the very limits as they attempt to compete on the only stage that matters to them, the stage of survival and dominance that is Arc Ops. Archons - be they Olympic Consummates or simply mentally-skewed apotent (normal) ahmin with a significant martial background and training - are all Olympic-level competitors who train all their lives to bring themselves to their peaks, and in moments ruin one-another's bodies, minds and lives. One can quantify the Hearth by it's unconscious tradition of finding, creating, tempering and forging the greatest warriors among any given sampling, and then testing them against one another for various reasons.

    The world of Hearth is not one where metas emerged whole-clotch just last year, and JUST a band of six metas with kind intentions, face an otherwise mundane world completely unprepared for them.

    The world of Hearth is a place with a long tradition of metas of various stripes, powers and origins from every corner of the globe, going back to the very fundaments of it's history. While the Hearth resembles the Earth, this element - the persistence of the super, the supernatural, the mystical, the metamartial, the adaptive, the extraterrestrial or the just plain unexplainable have had an indelible imprint on the world of the Hearth even if there are many billions who wish it weren't so.

    Meta incursions are not a common everyday staple of everyone's lives, however the populace exists in unique and sometimes persistently anxious awareness of the fact that there is little to shield them from elements entirely out of their control. Governments, corporations, institutions and private partnerships abound who have one single prevailing ethos, gather as much intelligence as possible and prepare for the unexpected. Many organizations have highly trained Archon-level operatives who are uniquely trained to take down metas of more than just a few origins.

    The world has experts, trained to exploit every weakness, turn every asset into a weakness, and bring the metas back down to the ahmin level.

    Often these specialists are focused on the meta and archon operatives of various rival nations, and not on the menaces and menacists within their own borders. More often than not they are working for private institutions, for-profit bodies and intelligence services with their own varied and prevailing political objectives. This translates to a world that is not just capable of handling some of the known meta threats, but is actually capable of being a deadly threat to those metas who are not prepared for the world's contravening forces.

    There are somewhere on the order of 1.25 million metas of all stripes on the Hearth, conversely and soberingly but there are 1.26 billion ahmin of the notable capability. Thankfully these notable ahmin are not necessarily poised against metas as a single united whole. An uncommonly large number of notable ahmin rank among the meta community - these peak-capability ahmin are not a joke to be taken lightly. Among them, smaller and smaller numbers of even more experienced and capable ahmin exist, with no genetic differentiation from baseline ahmin - capable of meta-martial, psychic and even arcane feats that border the metahamin.

    Governments, militaries, institutions, corporations and some cabals are literally filled to the brim with these notable ahmin who make their ranks more than fodder, especially as they are poised on the literal nerve centers of the modern world. If the world were solely comprised of apotent (normal) un-noteworthy ahmin it still has a large-enough population to be considered - especially when large groups of them operate with a united goal. However there are notable ahmin among them who literally inspire the best and worst among any number of people to or against any goal they have in common.

    Without knowing the affiliation of one notable normal after the other, a meta or team of metas could find themselves facing increasing numbers of equivalent and even greater threats than their abilities can keep apace with.

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  2. #82
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    Global Orphan Ratio

    The reality is that in our apotent and mundane world of Earth, we'd like to believe that orphans are a rarity to the extreme, so off the margins as to not warrant any concern, however every year tens of thousands of children or orphaned around the world. On particularly heinous years of warfare, pestilence and famine, the number can rise to the hundreds of thousands, and each and every one is a tragedy unto itself that literally shapes someone 's young world.

    ================================================== ===================

    On the Hearth, metahamin battles have a devastating effect on society and alarming rates of casualty among the bystanding public. Disaster shelters, a common staple of modern building construction, are supposed to serve as a barrier to these death tolls, and for the lucky few who make it, they can reduce the chance of immediate visceral death, but in the average building over four stories, this can account for less than 35% of the building's current capacity. There is no guarantee that survival can be secured by merely reaching a disaster shelter and even if one does reach that relative insecurity, there is no guarantee that their loved ones will as well.

    The reality on the meta and active world of the Hearth is a bit more drastic. In any given year, between tragedies, conventional wars, metahamin conflicts and any number of outlier cases that are far too numerous to predict or mention, somewhere on the order of twenty million to nearly fifty million children under the age of 18 are NEWLY orphaned around the Hearth. That means that in any given year, an orphan population the size of a small country is created.

    Every.
    Single.
    Year.

    What this translates to is a world in which 1 in 6 children below the age of 10 has lost one of their parents, but a staggering 1 in 12 children has lost both of their parents by age 18, and 1 in 8 children has lost both of their parents by the age of 10. There are some countries in which this ratio is significantly lower, having a well funded and active infrastructure of emergency response and law enforcement drastically reduces this effect in some parts of the world. Likewise, this also translates to punitively higher ratios in other nations less capable of effectively enforcing a standard of safety for it's population.

    Since the late 1800's, the infrastructure of the Orphanage and mandated wards of the state have remained a constant, even in developed nations. Some nations, like the United States of Atlantica have a natural preference for adoption, especially by relatives and willing couples. To that end, there are tax and social service incentives to ease the burden of taking in children that a couple may not have expected. Unfortunately, there are many people who see orphans as simply ignorable sources of income from the government. There are many disreputable orphanages, as well as many negligent - if not abusive - foster homes.

    This becomes significantly more important as a childhood interrupted can turn into a young adulthood wrestling with the sudden agency of metahamin powers. While there are many sources and factors of metahamin development that are known and can be quantified and detected, even in this day and age, there are still many MORE that are entirely unpredictable.

    In addition to examples on the media of metahamin menaces and menacists, even accidental metahamin incursions claim hundreds if not thousands of lives. The reality that there are entire generations of children who grow up in relative squalor without prevailing examples of caring, concerned and mentally healthy adults who engage in their care without financial inducement becomes an even greater tragedy, whether apotent or meta.

    Hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands of young adolescent metas join The Syndicates every year, with barely a handle on their abilities, their origins and their use, and many seeking father and mother figures among the various Syndicate cultures, lending credibility to their superior's self-impression of being a leaders in a community of metas.

    The reality is that the majority of the lifers in The Syndicates have either lost one or both parents, spent time in the foster care system or an orphanage, and their first effective jobs were either in their current Syndicate, or as a young meta-operator in various 'grub' (apotent ahmin) mafias - where they treated as fodder and hirelings.

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  3. #83
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    Global Severed Branches Ratio

    The reality is that in our apotent and mundane world of Earth, at least in the English language, there is no actual word to delineate and identify parents of lost children. It does happen tragically, but mercifully it is not a common enough occurrence and it is such an aberration that few have settled on a colloquial term to represent it.

    ================================================== ======================

    On the Hearth, metahamin battles have a devastating effect on society and alarming rates of casualty among the bystanding public. Disaster shelters, a common staple of modern building construction, are supposed to serve as a barrier to these death tolls, and for the lucky few who make it, they can reduce the chance of immediate visceral death, but in the average building over four stories, this can account for less than 35% of the building's current capacity. There is no guarantee that survival can be secured by merely reaching a disaster shelter and even if one does reach that relative insecurity, there is no guarantee that their loved ones will as well.

    The reality on the meta and active world of the Hearth is a bit more drastic. In any given YEAR, between tragedies, conventional wars, metahamin conflicts and any number of outlier cases that are far too numerous to predict or mention, somewhere on the order of 13 million to 25 million couples become what is commonly known today as "Severed Branches" - parents who have lost children (usually under the age of 18).

    There are many who argue about the specifics and semantics, parents whose children have run away from home, been abducted, whose children are alive but at lost to crippling addictions, and even parents of soldiers and whose children die as adults aren't largely considered when people think of Severed Branches, but who is to argue that their loss is any less felt. However so many nations and societies can universally sympathize with the loss of a child under any number of circumstances.

    Marriages, which can be strained under ideal conditions tend to fall apart as the various grief cycles of two separate people can often come into conflict with one another unintentionally, and ultimately both the individual psyches of the couple are wounded while the relationship as a whole is a prevailing reminder of the hope with which a couple had a child in the first place - a hope that dies with the loss of a young child.

    THE SINGLE MOST COMMON MOTIVATOR IN THE ENTIRE BLUE LINE UNIVERSE ... IS VENGEANCE.

    When a sibling, parent, mentor, lover or life-mate is struck down suddenly and tragically, but without a direct cause, a direct party at fault, the mind spirals and it is all to easy simply blame the world. However when a loved one is struck down as a result of someone's action or inaction, whether intentional or not, the cry for vengeance is hard to ignore, it takes all of one's willpower, personal wisdom, empathy for the other party, and courage to face themselves for NOT avenging their loved one. That burden is hard indeed to bear.

    When a couple looses their child, they try to hold on to the life they know for the sake of their life mate, or their remaining children, or for whatever living tethers still tie them to the world. But when a person looses their only child (or children) that burden becomes NIGH IMPOSSIBLE, and even the most moralistic of minds and souls will break under that pressure, and the cry for vengeance will OVERTAKE their reason.

    This effect is compounded as not every person who suffers this kind of loss is entirely powerless or incapable of taking - what to them is -necessary action.

    Misguided and uniquely motivated intellectual experts in any number of physics and scientific applications of theories that border on the magical, spiritual adepts who can pierce the veil of the afterworld(S) and are willing to pay any price or make any deal to retrieve the souls that they feel have been taken before their time. Numerous adaptive, biogenic and experimental metas who are willing to sacrifice either their life-essence or the life-essences of nameless faceless thousands of inconsequential wastes-of-space for the chance to preserve or reignite the lives of their precious children - and how DARE you tell them that their efforts are futile.

    Then there are the unsaid realities.

    There is nothing, NOTHING, nothing more important to Night-kin than their children. NOTHING. The stories of rampaging, marauding and predating Night-kin of centuries and years past are not simply folk tales, they are the honest-to-goodness truth. Night-Kin have to FIGHT to contain righteous rage when they can SMELL the people who they KNOW were responsible for the death of their children, even when they can smell the people that THEY love, or THEIR children, or THEIR children's children. Woe be to any ahmin that get between them and their quarry.

    Numerous Future Soldiers and Atomics from the early half of last century discovered this first hand as they were all but MAGNETS for roving bands of Night-Kin AND X-Vectors who would attack them with a berserk fury without provocation, as they could literally smell the organs and hormones of their loved ones in these powered pretenders. There is a real reality to why governments and corporations alike changed their tactics in creating Future Soldiers and Atomics, favoring instead cybernetic, adaptive, psionic and Consummate augmentation to their operatives.

    There is a prevalence in the media to demonize all menacists as puerile extremists who emerged from the womb ready to kill themselves to accomplish their goals, but the reality is far afield from this fiction.

    Many if not most hardcore devoted menacists have lost either one or all of their children in the many proxy wars of the last century, being the proxy 3rd party victims of the global super powers. This has lead to a crop of menacists who have no single nation as the target of their ire, seeing all the belligerents as equally responsible.

    This has created a more extreme, clever and devoted crop of menacists, none the least of which being the men and women of Venom, it's modern iteration so far removed from it's original roots. Venom no longer relies on an over-equipped army of mercenary and delinquent young adults seeking to make their anarchistic mark against society, the current Venom is manned and fueled by skilled, dedicated and smart Severed Branches and veterans of numerous wars that are aware of metahamin tactics and government infrastructures - both legitimate and illegitimate.

    There are also many Paragons of many stripes and origins who have previously stopped menaces and stopped colleagues from slipping into becoming renegades or "going avenger", who, in the blink of an eye loose every thing that they were fighting for, were living for.

    Suddenly Severed Branches become Broken-Arrows, no less intrepid than they were before, even if their emotional core is hollowed out. Lacking morale and a reason to care, they are entirely all to capable of slipping into renegade patters of "going avenger" without thought and/or with no way back - they themselves knowing all the arguments as to why they should turn back, but having lost their prevailing hope, simply descend further down that rabit hole.

    No one is going to claim that The Syndicates are innocent or benign organizations that promote the best qualities of people, ahmin or meta. However compared to many meta gangs and individual heinous psychopaths, The Syndicates are a calming influence on the world of meta-crime. When Severed Branches occur in The Syndicates this can untether blind ambitions, heinous psychopathic tendencies or create knee-jerk shifts in a persona that make these members more prone to violence, posturing and worse - violating treaties. Without the tether of their loved ones, who were simultaneously their moralistic reason AND The Syndicate's perpetual hostage/insurance against aberration, these members can lash out wildly, no longer concerned with their own mortality.

    Sometimes they can be reigned in by their colleagues, but sadly few in the Syndicates rank and file genuinely want to heed treaties, borders and other rules that hinder their earning potential - this means that occasionally a few may join them, using their fury and frenzy in a bid to claim and stake their own niche or territory. This becomes especially disconcerting when the Severed Branches on the warpath are former Motivators, Underbosses and Overbosses of regional Syndicate franchises, even more so when they used to be Principled Motivators - as they suddenly have every impetus to embrace the vengeful personas they had previously cultivated as masks for their Principled natures.

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  4. #84
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    The Blue Line Universe - PMAs

    Poly-synthetic Modular Armor
    Programmable Molecular Armor

    Before the Crucible costumes were of so many varying values and protective abilities as to range from indestructible to barely clothed. There are plenty of metas who's bodies are invulnerable to most forms of harm, and there are many metas who were simply armor jockeys, meat in a shell. The problem with both situations is that most forms of harm are not all forms of harm and up until the manufacture of salinate suspension gel, flying at mach speed wasn't as much of a problem as stopping.

    There were many teams that were funded or backed by geniuses with large purse-strings, each more eager than the last to create the next "best standard" costume or gadget to make the act of jumping recklessly into the fray a safer affair. During the 90's there were many government strike-forces and think-tank backed teams of Paragons who used various forms of modular armor. Puncture resistance, fire resistance, water tight, air tight, plated to resist balistic arms, elasticized to allow for metahamin ranges of movement and combat ability. There was no end in sight.

    After 11-01-01, many Paragons were poisoned or killed by structural materials that acted like aerosolized defoliants, eating away skin and causing internal organ failure. Several Paragon organizations with geniuses backing them all came together to figure out a way to keep the remaining crop uniformly protected while allowing for the almost infinite variances that multiple power-sets required. Oddly enough the solution was possible through the combination of the programmable molecule suits of the Paragon, Dr. D.E.I. Nathaniel Dayspring, and the poly-synthetic modular armors of Il Professore Mechadime, the unparalleled misguided intellectual who had disappeared years prior.

    Initially the PMAs were in-fact armors more indicative of IPM's design, their only real D.E.I. value was in their ability to have their mass reduced for quick and easy transport, but that had little effect on the bulky and time-consuming costume changes. While poly-synthetic modular armor was useful for IPM's bioborg-drones that had limited lifespans, functions and no need to actually change out of their PMAs into actual clothing on a daily basis, it was not at all convenient for Paragons who had lives to live and who had to quickly be ready to address events as they cropped up. However as the time was rife with formalized training programs, many of the new blood adapted to this while many of the old guard just abandoned the suits in favor of what they had always used.

    It wasn't until 2007 that Atlas, a "private military" developed a variant programmable molecular armor for domestic and urban combat that a real precursor to the current iteration of PMA was developed. Initially used by banana republic mercenary armies and for use in exocolonies for rapid deployment, these PMA's were a combination of light armor and encounter-suit sealed environments. Without the helmets, that proved to be highly adaptable, as a simple electrical pulse allowed the suit to change between defined structural states - one light, yielding and subtle - while the other was made of flexing intewoven microplates (a form of nanosheathe chainmail).

    Modern PMA's are known moreso as Polysynthetic Modular Armor as the association with Dr. D.E.I. was tarnished along with his reputation, however modern PMAs have more in common with the programmable molecular armor of Dr. D.E.I. than than the poly-synthetic molecular armor of IPM. Using micromorphic plating, the overall material is both liquid sealed and becomes lighter than conventional fabric when in it's passive state. In it's active state, PMAs allow for a multitude of functionalities and structures, ultimately all are equivalent to light armor with light resistances to multiple chemical and physical hazards.

    Ultimately, for those with unique physical powers, especially those who have some form of energy expulsion, or who require lighter highly-specialized or non-conductive materials in order to function effectively, their individual PMAs must be calibrated, or they must have a PMA calibration on file. PMAs can simulate the appearance of any number of materials and fabrics in both their passive and active states, though they can only offer effective protection when in their active states, even then the protection is limited by the mass of the active-state material. Some mecha and armors are made of much higher concentrations of programmable configurations of Duraplexite or Stratofex as well as unique densities and calibrations that provide unique protection, for everything from wars to exo-colonial exploration. Carbocilium nanoweave is still regarded as an alchemy and not currently repeatable by conventional science, even edge and ultra sciences.

    Dr. D.E.I.'s influence and effect on the world can never be overstated but sadly will hardly ever be recognized.

    Would you like to know more?
    Last edited by Demeheron; 04-23-2017 at 05:12 AM. Reason: The website was being extremely uncooperative this week, but this is another attempt

  5. #85
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    The Blue Line Universe - Arc Ops and Performance Enhancers

    Performance Supplements are a way for common soldiers to operate as Archon Operators for a short time, and for ArcOps specialists to effectively be Future Soldiers. Many play a chicken and egg game with who started using what when - prompting the other to implement their own programs that use it, but what is known is that since the time of Operation Desert Shield - the mid 90's campaign to take back Al Qadesh from Suraq - all of the worlds superpowers have been issuing Performance Supplements to their front-line mobile infantries to greater or lesser effect, though some far precede this.

    Performance Supplements aren't a nuclear option, they don't impart super-powers and they certainly are not intended for extended use. They are short duration one-offs that leverage long-term health against immediate survival. Archon Operators and Olympic Consummates tend not to rely on them, and some decry their use as "cheating", but not all, and when the stakes are literally life and death, few can argue against using every edge possible.

    As Performance Supplements are intended for limited use and limited exposure, most militaries will claim that they are not habit forming, but the reality is far afield from this slogan. Of all the various Performance Supplements that see prolonged use to the point of abuse are the Gray, Blue and Purple, the one's the impart a mental edge and allow soldiers to operate with greater acumen, unhindered by their mental weaknesses, to the detriment of their long term psyche should they ever stop, thus few rarely do.

    In combat against Metas, Archon Operators, Future Soldiers, Power Armor, Vermilions and other more-sophisticated Combat Andrones - no single Performance Supplement sees more use than Purple, the added level of focus and clarity can seriously alter the shape of battle. Blues remove fear, Greens remove pain, but both of these things are essential to flight or fight response. But no one thing reduces the effectiveness of soldiers, both individually and as a unit, than the loss of focus. Training, weapons, tools and techniques that were instilled to create a well rounded operator suddenly become lost int he fog of war, but take a purple and suddenly all the options, the terrain, the opponents, and especially all of the allies all be come crystal clear.... for a few minutes at a time.

    The reality is that some 20 years after they have been in general use in the military has finally given some indications that Performance Supplements have serious long term effects, none the least of which is withdrawal. Many veterans of the wars of this time suffer sporadic and severe bouts of unpredictable emotions from suicidally-depressive states to psychotic episodes, and every emotional state in between.

    The last 60 years has been a tumultuous time for the world and the soldiers of many nations have had to face threats that at best could be described as "unconventional". Engaging enemies and scenarios like this WITH adequate preparation can be harrowing to say the least, but without any warning any number of soldiers from any nation can be called upon to deal with situations entirely out of their depth. No matter how many grays one takes, they cannot put off the trauma forever, especially as the mind recoils and the ebb and flow of emotional states can negatively impact their function in what would otherwise be normal life-skill situations with work, family or belief systems.

    Unbeknownst to much of the public, G8 economy nations with modern militaries all owe their current crop of performance enhancers and their allegories in nanotech to the Advanced Concepts Engineers groundwork over the last century. Their tireless inhamane experimentation and use of ahmin test subjects to create their "zukunftsoldaten automatica" have yielded numerous generations and iterations of future soldiers, atomics, variants and supplementally-augmented soldiers on every continent in the world and by every major government that has competed to stay relevant.

    This is a field that owes it's very existence and persistence to a legacy of atrocities in the service of creating more effective mass-murderers more cheaply.

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  6. #86
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    Holy view count jump Batman!

    300 in a DAY?!?!?!? WHAT?....

    18,915 (4/25/17)

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