The First Metahuman and the Freedom Brigade


The invasion of New York City by the renegade soviet faction known as Rasputin's Comrades in 1989, repelled by the 1st Metahuman.

In the years that followed the eruption of the Stranger, the rise of metahuman powers did not go un-noticed by governments at large — and certainly not the United States. Accordingly, military personnel demonstrating these new abilities and talents were organized into a new unit - the 1st Metahuman American Brigade. The 1st Metahuman crashed upon the shores of Normandy, and from that day on were ever at the forefront of the war… matched by their Nazi-aligned counterparts and, worse, the monstrosities created by the Reich's super-scientists experimenting without restrictions of morality or even the laws of nature. Back home, a massive propaganda machine ground out comic after comic based on their adventures - inspiring a burgeoning industry that created fictional heroes later, such as Superman and Batman - and the support for their activities was high.

Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention changed everything after the war for the survivors of the unit, with one major clause forbidding the use of metahumans in warfare; the 1st Metahuman was retired, and although the survivors were honorably discharged and given pensions sufficient to ensure they lived well for the rest of their lives, such extraordinary people cannot simply be brushed beneath a rug and expected to fade into the annals of history quietly after having lived through so much.

Not all of the ex-military metahumans reacted with relief and pleasure to their return to civilian life; some felt betrayed by the forcible retirement, some had severe psychological disorders stemming from their experiences during the war, and others merely saw the selfish opportunities that lay before them. The rate of metahuman crime skyrocketed in the years after the war, and many of these new 'super-villains' were ex-military men who took their training and experience with their powers and put them to use in the most selfish of ways.

The FBI, overwhelmed by the introduction of domestic terrorists, serial killers, smugglers and other criminals that could simply not be caught by mundane agents, turned to the heroes of the First American and recruited those whom seemed best suited into a new metahuman-crime task force, named (for publicity purposes) the Freedom Brigade, largely believed to be the first 'super hero' group that formed in the US. Led by the Urban Ranger, with support from the American Eagle, Liberty's Flame, the Banner, the Minuteman, and the Sharpshooter, these heroes struck out to apprehend both civilian metahuman villains and their own ex-comrades in arms who'd turned against the country, and the country loved them for it. As the years and then decades went by, members of the Brigade were killed or retired and were replaced and reinforced by new heroes - and heroines, with the onset of Women's Lib in the country - and their job was made easier by the rise of other heroic groups and organizations throughout the country and abroad.

It was the Vietnam War that put an end to the Freedom Brigade; drafted into duty by executive order and sent in to support the 'police action' occuring there, the current members were put through hell, ordered to commit acts that went solidly against their better judgement and forced to even worse in order to survive. Some died, or broke down; the Urban Ranger (still active due to his greatly retarded aging rate) went MIA. After they were recalled, the Brigade disbanded.

The 1st Metahuman was resurrected during the Reagan era as a cold-war deterrent to other nations' metahuman weapons programs, though the colourful uniforms and code-names of the past were set aside in preference of military uniforms and serious discipline. They never captured the public's imagination and acclaim as once they had in the past, but were still one of the most potent symbols of American power, seeing action in various 'interventions' across the world though never in open warfare.

It wasn't until the past few years that the name of the Freedom Brigade would rise once again. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks when radical Islamic metas took control of several planes and attacked New York City with them, causing a great loss of life, discussions for solutions to the problem were heated and intense. The idea of 'metahuman registration' and detectors in all airports were suggested, along with more draconian methods of dealing with the matter— but then Senator Starke of Florida stepped forward with the suggestion to reform the Freedom Brigade; after all, the FBI was clearly unable to deal with metahuman crime and terrorists, just as they had in the past, and the Brigade had filled the role admirably.

They were given a broad mandate to keep the country safe from metahuman attack, foreign or domestic, and several older heroes who had taken up the mantle of politics or military service in their retirement were given positions in the newly-formed agency. Agents - heroes - were recruited from volunteers civilian and otherwise, and all of them had to pass through National Guard boot camp as well as other training programs before being assigned to a battalion. .


The First Metahuman Brigade

The First Metahuman is currently stationed at Fort Bragg, and less than one percent of those that apply pass the training and psych screenings. They're the best of the best, or at least they like to think so, and eschew the colourful costumes of vigilantes and the old Brigade for crisp military uniforms and discipline.

Four divisions (5 person squads):

  • Alpha (Rapid deployment force, all have extraordinary movement powers)
  • Beta (Stealth/Morphers)
  • Gamma (Psychics)
  • Omega (The 'Big Guns', really destructive powers for heavy action).

The Freedom Brigade

The Freedom Brigade technically considered a subordinate organization to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, its jurisdiction covering metahuman-related crimes. Although not organized along military lines, all Brigadiers are technically reservists, and can be called up by the government to military service in the case of emergency.

Every state in the Union has its own Freedom Battalion, which works closely with the local FBI office, although they are afforded a wide degree of autonomy. Due to the sparcity of metahumans willing to volunteer for government service, these groups rarely exceed ten members, and some states have but a single Brigadier working there. The 32nd Battalion is located in San Angeles.

Notable Personages

Although the following are currently NPC background, they make good fodder for legacy hero concepts, mentors (if still alive), or even possibly adoption as PCs.

The First Metahuman Brigade

  • The Sarge: Grant Barker, A career sergeant lent to Allies forces as an advisor early in the war, he was captured by the Nazi forces and experimented upon during the early stages of the war by none other than Mengele himself, the super strength and nigh-invulnerability he developed as a side-effect allowed him to escape. He petitioned the command ranks to create a new, all-metahuman brigade, which was granted. Despite a promotion to General, he never went by anything other than 'The Sarge' amongst his men. After the 1st Metahuman was reestablished in the 80s, he was brought out of retirement in an advisory role, where he remains to this day due to a slightly retarded aging rate. The Sarge was never as popular as The Urban Ranger due to being a more no-nonsense sort of hero. The two men never got on very well, but there was a deep and abiding respect despite their lack of warmth that allowed them to work together effectively. Married twice, he has two children, Alex (age 29, single) and Gina (age 42, married mother of three) neither of which are on speaking terms with him.
  • Stars & Stripes: A pair of twins that were Sarge's first recruits for the 1st Metahuman, possessing minor powers apart but able to combine to form one powerful light-controlling entity. Brand Jones (Stars) and his twin brother Lance (Stripes) found they had powers during a live fire training exercise. Brand had fallen into a mud pit, and Lance reached down to help him out when their contact hand to hand triggered their powers. Brand on his own possessed extraordinary vision, able to see under any lighting conditions including complete darkness. Lance discovered he could create a flash of light much like a flash-bulb on a camera. Both found themselves to be stronger, faster, and more resistant to harm. Active duty, they first merged while fighting in Africa against Rommel's forces. The Jones boys were soon after recruited by The Sarge, and served with distinction throughout both World War II and the Korean War. Lance was killed in action in Korea, and Brand retired immediately thereafter. Brand is currently in a retirement home, cared for by his son William and his family.
  • Glamour: The first female 'officially' considered active duty in the military, Anna Jenkins joined late in the war, providing mystical support for the 1st Metahuman, able to take astral form and sway the minds of men with her mystical powers. She was a close friend of Liberty's Flame, considering the older woman a role model. After the war Glamour retired from the military and built a successful career as a spokeswoman for Women's Rights and a political lobbyist in Washington. She was devastated by the death of Liberty's Flame and soon after retired from the public eye, vanishing entirely during the Reagan administration. Her present circumstances are unknown, Glamour has not been seen since her disappearance.
  • Valiant: Danny Washington was a speedster who could out-run the proverbial - and literal - bullet. A black man, he created quite a stir when included in the ranks of the First Metahuman. Nobody could deny his passionate patriotism and his devout love of his country however, and he made significant inroads for equal rights. His most bitter enemy was Das Ubersoldat, their loathing for each other the stuff of legend as radically opposing ideologies clashed. Towards the end of the war Danny lost both legs in the wake of an explosion he triggered rescuing a truck full of civilians from a German tank. Granted both a Purple Heart and a Medal of Valor, he was honorably discharged from the service and died happily married, the father of five, and a grandfather three times over at the ripe age of seventy-eight. An icon for equal rights activists the Danny Washington College fund offers scholarships for minority students.
  • Burner: A pyrokinetic and marine whose powers manifested when drilling with an M2-2 flamethrower, James Kirkpatrick died on the beach of Normandy at D-Day. Always a hothead, it seems his powers only intensified his feelings of rage and anger. Always a bit of a trouble maker he was nearly washed out of the program until he was taken aside by The Sarge and the two had a long heart to heart. He was posthumously awarded a medal of honor after his death in Normandy.
  • Magnaboy: Sarge's teen sidekick Charley Cross wasn't recruited by Sarge, he attached himself to the hero and eventually his persistence paid off. The plucky young teen had powers over magnetism, able to control and create fields of magnetic force, and control the movement of ferrous metals. He soon proved his worth to The Sarge and the older hero took the lad under his wing and trained him, never officially part of the First Metahuman Brigade the teen hero was nevertheless an important part of the team, and much loved by everyone on it, even Burner. After the war he went to college and earned a law degree. Specializing in Metahuman rights he is currently serving his second term in the House of Representatives for the State of Missouri with a reputation as a staunch and unyielding patriot. He was married briefly but divorced without any children shortly after his acceptance in law school.

The Freedom Brigade

  • The Urban Ranger: A triumph of military science, the super-soldier known as the Urban Ranger was reputedly merely a soldier who volunteered for an experimental program that left him a true super-human; stronger, faster, more resilient than other men, wearing a military helmet and urban camouflage over a simple domino mask. he was nearly legendary for his exploits during World War 2, and was the leader of the original Brigade. He went MIA during the Vietnam conflict, last seen heading to intercept an airfield where intelligence suggested a defector from the Brigade - Agent Orange - was being picked up by a Russian helicopter. His fate remains unknown, as both North Vietnam and Russia deny having any knowledge of him. Of all the founding members, his is the only one still unknown; classified as a state secret even to this day, this has led conspiracy theorists to suggest that he's still alive and working for the US, although more logical historians imagine this is to protect a family, possibly a wife, children, and grandchildren from his numerous enemies.
  • The American Eagle: Joshua Whitefeather was working with the military as a code-talker during the second World War when his metahuman ability manifested, in the form of a great pair of wings; promptly recruited into the 1st Metahuman, he performed admirably in his role as a scout, taking on the name and identity of the American Eagle. Following the war, he became a great advocate of Native American rights, travelling the country spreading understanding and lobbying on behalf of his people. A close friend of the Urban Ranger, he joined the Freedom Brigade upon its formation, although without his friend's resistance to age he retired before too many decades had passed. Still alive today despite his age, he's written many books on politics and race, and recieved the Presidential Medal of Honor in 1997 for both the sacrifices given to his country as a hero and military man and his work since as a community leader for his people.
  • The Banner: The Morale Officer for the 1st Metahuman, David Klein's mere voice could inspire men on to greater deeds, giving them the inner strength to ignore wounds, distractions, and fear and press on through the fight. Widely respected by the men, in the post-war years he became a minister, duties that he took quite seriously even once joining the Freedom Brigade, often serving as a voice of conscience and reason for the others. A very private man, little is known of his personal life even today, and his death at the hands of the meta serial killer that called itself the Black Hills Horror ensured that many of those questions would never be answered.
  • Liberty's Flame: Refused into the service due to her gender, Mary Morrison served as a nurse for the First Metahuman Brigade, at least until their encampment was attacked by surprise by Doktor Dahl's Ubersoldat robots one evening— at which point her own pyrokinetic abilities proved more than combat-worthy in defending the civilians in the encampment. Following that incident, she featured heavily in propaganda posters, and many have credited her for inspiring the beginning of the women's liberation movement. She was widely considered 'one of us' by the brave men of the 1st Metahuman despite the bureaucrats, and when a particularly sleazy reporter asked the Urban Ranger in the post-war years if the rumor she'd slept around the unit frequently was true, the man required extensive plastic surgery to repair the damage one punch did to his face. Feisty, firey, and never one to back down from a challenge, her inclusion in the Freedom Brigade was considered something of a scandal by many, though it opened the doors to other heroines emerging in later years. The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, however, and she died of natural causes in her early forties.
  • The Sharpshooter: A World War II sniper expert, Ivan Ragnusson’s sole metahuman power was the apparently-useless ability to remain entirely still and unmoving for any length of time, to the point that even his breathing and pulse slowed to near-indistinguishable from death. As it turned out, this made him perfect for the job of a sniper, and skill developed over time meant that he’d very rarely miss a shot. He kept to himself for the most part, a very devout man by reputation, but was looked at as somewhat distant – if useful – by the other members of the Brigade. After a long and proud service he fell into obscurity, and his final fate is unknown.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License