No More Heroes
The world used to be simple. Coffee in the mornings. The Internet. War in the Middle East . . . . Now there’s war everywhere.
Every culture has had its paragons. The cave people had some nameless hero who harnessed fire. The Greeks had Achilles. The Jews had Jesus, and we saw how that turned out. There have been enough of them throughout history that some German came up with a name for them: the übermensch. The Super Man. Today, we call them Supers.
They were rare at first. The first documented incident of our modern era was a bank robbery in Las Cruces, New Mexico in 2017. Alan Villanueva, a.k.a. The Hornet. He was unnaturally fast, and had prodigious martial arts skill. Unsurprisingly, he called his operation a “sting” and got away with a quarter of a million dollars cash and jewels and other items worth another seventy-five thousand dollars. But you know all about that.
We should have seen it coming from him, what the world would turn into. But with every villain (kind of an archaic word, I know, but what else would you call them?), another super would pop up and try to get the villains off the streets. Heroes. With every hero, they built up the hope that this world might last just a little longer.
The beginning of the end was the Hotspot Crisis in 2027. Hotspot, Yao Chang, was a Chinese national with the power to manipulate machines and electricity. It was in New York City that he made his first decisive strike. Hotspot made four planes crash in midair over Times Square. 522 people dead. The debris killed 67 people and hospitalized another 108. The United States Secretary of Defense was aboard one of those planes. Hotspot fled first to Spain, and then through Germany and Turkey. He began anew the war between Pakistan and Israel by fabricating missile launch orders. Then he fled to China, where he retired. He left terror and disarray in his wake, and when the world called on China to produce him to answer for his crimes, including the war crimes committed in Pakistan, China refused.
International tensions erupted, and supers from every nation reacted to Hotspot’s trail of destruction. Heroes around the world went to China to enact vengeance, and the villains took advantage of the chaos left in Hotspot’s wake. China saw this as an act of war, and the Super War began.
The Super War ushered in fear, as any war does. Fear of the unknown. And the unknown were the Supers. Their powers were unpredictable and dangerous. It wasn’t long before the United States and many other nations required supers to register with the government. These registration acts quickly became drafts into the military, requiring military service from those with useful powers. One would think the nations forcing the supers into military service would tear this world apart, but that wasn’t it. It was the villains.
The villains that were captured were put into military service right alongside those who had willingly registered. This military service was in place of prison or death. It was these Redemption Soldiers that broke the world in two. No self-respecting hero would serve with a villain. Many would say this was fair of them. How can a unit survive when the members of the unit don’t trust each other?
At first it was small unit riots. Brawls breaking out in the cafeterias. However the infighting soon spread to leveling forts, villages, and cities. Millions of dollars of damage and thousands of civilian casualties. The Super War wasn’t between the nations anymore. The nations’ own militaries had erupted in civil war, the heroes fighting the villains. Major cities around the world were destroyed completely. Entire fleets and land troops around the globe wiped out in seconds.
The last part of the Super War was over quickly, a matter of months. Supers around the world knew it was over when El Toro appeared on a worldwide broadcast holding the head of American Woman. The world’s villains had won.
The world’s major governments had collapsed, only to be rebuilt by the world’s villains. Many countries descended into feudalism, territories controlled by warlords, divided into areas under the control of weaker villains. Some of the European nations and Russia are completely dominated by mob rule, families of supers that have managed to secure large domains of control.
It seems the entire world is a darker place run by greed and hunger for power. The supers who believe in doing what’s right stay in hiding, while the villains roam the streets freely, taking what they want from those unable to defend themselves. There are rumors of resistances and revolutions, but nothing has picked up enough momentum to create any meaningful impact.
There is no hope anymore. Heroes don’t inspire hope. They only incite fear. Fear of death, starvation, pain, torture, or retribution. The world might be better off if there were no more heroes.