The Quade Institute
Location: Bethesda, Maryland near the National Institutes of Health
Physical Description: A gleaming post-modern minaret of glass and black steel, the Quade Institute looms above the city as a symbol of progress and aesthetically pleasing strangeness. Ten floors of labs and office space occupy its central cube, with administrative and support facilities appearing in the twelve-story tower thrusting it up into the city skyline. A ground-level complex of shops and cafes serves as a base to the rest of the structure’s pedestal. The high ceilings and chrome fixtures of the labs themselves are designed to impress researchers and donors. They are temples to science, projecting an air of hushed excitement and efficiency.
Administrative offices comfort the money people with their oak paneling and lush leather furnishings. Researcher’s offices strive for modernistic utilitarianism but, since they’re occupied by scientists, tend to be messy and overstuffed with loose paper.
The Institution: The Quade Institute has established itself as the world’s foremost anamorphological research center. Attracting scientists from all over the world, its staff is a picture of internationalism. Of particular interest to HCIU detectives is its Department of Forensic Anamorphology, whose cutting-edge labs and pioneering techniques may provide more advanced evidence analysis than that offered by the police labs. To working detectives, their labs offer temptation and disappointment in equal measure: investigators know that prosecutors hate new science, which is very difficult to introduce into evidence. As expert witnesses, Quade Institute scientists are considered a mixed blessing: although juries love their credentials, few of them are good at communicating scientific information to a lay audience.
The Institute also houses a department of social science, the Quade Center For Public Policy. Though unaffiliated with any political organization, it serves as a specialized think tank advancing the general cause of mutant rights.
Location: Crystal City, Virginia
Physical Description: A crudely looming skyscraper with gold-colored ornamentation, vaulting upwards in a triumphant V-shape. A hundred and eight stories high, the Birch Towers house extensive office space, including the headquarters or branch facilities of several multinational corporations. Its cathedrallike entryway boasts a breathtaking fountain and enormous murals and sculptures by top contemporary artists. Birch Towers is also home to several exclusive restaurants. The top five floors comprise the palatial resident of billionaire mutant Galen Birch.
The Bulwark of God
Location: 619 Tenth Street, N.W. DC
Physical description: This impressive cathedral was purchased from the local Anglican Diocese, which found it too expensive to maintain. It has since been extensively refitted in keeping with the pseudoscientific iconography of the Eighth Day Church. The new metal-clad structure combines post-modernist lines with the imposing authority of medieval Gothic cathedrals. Tapestries behind the altar vividly depict a future war between super-humans and aliens. They jarringly combine the aesthetics of the Bayeux Tapestry with Topp’s original Mars Attacks bubblegum cards. Their aliens and ships are more inspired by H. R. Giger than 1950’s pulp covers, though.
Everybody says that its flamboyant founder, Gilles Tremblay, installed various fortress-like facilities, including an impregnable fallout shelter, in the building when he remodeled it. They’re there to make the church a defensive strong point when the aliens invade, or so the story goes. Supposedly, its spires have even been outfitted with emplacements for machineand anti-aircraft guns, which can be assembled with parts from the vault on a few hour’s notice.
The Institution: The Bulwark Of God is a congregation of the Eighth Day Church, regarded as a loose cannon by more conservative followers of that new faith. It draws a large congregation to Tremblay’s showy, emotionally potent church services. The cathedral supports an impressive network of social outreach charities, including soup kitchens, addiction counseling, and women’s shelters. Tremblay also aggressively funds combat training for church members and other volunteers, to which both mutants and DNASes may apply. Although this project is regarded as sinister by many people, including most cops, he says that he’s merely preparing for the sadly inevitable war against the saucer people.
The cathedral is a frequent target of attacks by zealots of all stripes. They include anti-mutant types as well as various religious fanatics, including members of rival sect within the Eighth Day church, which predicts an environmental collapse instead of an alien attack.