The History of Origin: 1900-1920

Hello out there! Part 3 of the ongoing Nobody series will be coming out soon, rounding out the first arc, the Centennial Saga! The Centennial of Superhumans plays a big role in the upcoming storyline so I thought I would lay down some history of the world of Origin for context and alternate history fun. It’s not required reading to enjoy the story, but look close and maybe you’ll find some clues to events yet to come…

 

World and U.S. History

The 1900’s

As a new century dawns, great changes are waiting on the horizon. Some believe that the political and scientific landscape have little room to grow and that things will remain as they are for a very long time. The rumblings of superhuman activity combine with the rumors and urban legend of yesteryear to create a new interest in the possibilities beyond humanity.

1900- Rudolf Diesel demonstrates the diesel engine at the World’s Fair in Paris. Peking is captured by foreign armies, eventually leading to the end of the Boxer Rebellion. Rumors of incredible and superhuman feats during the war reach Western ears and intellectuals debate whether superhuman ability is even possible.

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1901- Queen Victoria passes away, ending an age. U.S. President William McKinley is shot by anarchist Leo Czolgosz. He dies eight days later and is succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt.

1902- The Electric Theater, the first in the United States, opens in Los Angeles. Cuba gains independence from the United States.

1903- Ford produces its first car, the Model A. The Wright Brothers perform their first powered flight, though sightings of flying machines have been reported for decades and a number of other people claim to have flown machines of their own making before the Wrights ever did. The Ends of the Earth Club is founded which counts among its members Mark Twain, who brings his own adventurous experiences to the table.

1904- Japan declares war on Russia in an effort to take Greater Manchuria from them. The U.S. formally takes control of the Panama Canal project.

1905- Compiling reports and rumors of superhuman feats and miraculous abilities, Dr. Miguel Valencia begins traveling the globe looking for an actual superhuman whose abilities he can record and quantify. Albert Einstein publishes several papers revealing special relativity and other important scientific developments, leading many to regard this as his ‘miracle year’.

1906- San Francisco is rocked by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake, one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. The HMS Dreadnought is launched, starting a naval arms race between Britain and Germany. Wilhelm Voigt, a german impostor posing as a Prussian officer, takes over Kopenick City Hall for a short time.

1907- The Peking to Paris Motor Race is won by Prince Scipione Borghese of Italy. The state of Indiana becomes the world’s first legislature to put “compulsory sterilization for eugenic purposes” in the law books.

1908- A massive explosion occurs in Siberia near the Stony Tunguska River. It the largest impact event in Earth’s recorded history, though no crater could be found. The true nature of the explosion is hidden from the world for decades.

1909- Joan of Arc is beatified in Rome. Max Heindel formally founds the Rosicrucian Fellowship in Seattle. Elsewhere, Dr. Valencia continues his search for superhuman ability, but he is losing hope that he will ever document such a thing.

 

The 1910’s

A time of expansion, discovery and mounting tension. In a powder keg world, superhumans make their indelible mark and become the spark for great and terrible things. After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, a series of wars are triggered which quickly escalates into the largest armed conflict the world has ever seen. Millions die as nations make war on an industrial scale. Both sides expect the rapidly rising numbers of superhumans to bring a swift end to the conflict, but like the tank and the airplane, superhumans’ true utility is underappreciated and they are put through the meat grinder like everyone else.

1910- May 19: Earth passes through the tail of Halley’s Comet. After a brief hysteria, people quickly realize that the cyanide in the comet’s tail will not in fact poison all life on Earth. May 20: Mexican citizen and masked vigilante El Chacal aka Estefan Morera becomes the first documented and scientifically verified superhuman in history thanks to Dr. Valencia’s efforts. The world is forever changed. The reaction from Mexico’s government is mixed as El Chacal is both a wanted outlaw and hero to the people. The Mexican Revolution begins soon afterward.

1911- Porforio Diaz resigns from the Presidency of Mexico and is exiled to France. El Chacal is spotted defending Mexican border towns from government and revolutionaries alike. Machu Picchu is “rediscovered” by Hiram Bingham after being led there by a local villager. The RMS Titanic is launched in Belfast.

1912- Dubbed the Year of the Superhuman by newspapers, five more supers appear around the world by March and by April, the total is up to twelve. A man in New York City stops a robber’s bullet with his hand. A woman in Glasgow jumps incredible distances to get to work on time. A pair of twins in Veracruz levitates an entire squad of revolutionary soldiers with their linked minds. On its maiden voyage, the Titanic sinks in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic and over 1500 people are lost in the disaster.

1913- Rapidly modernized under the previous government, Mexico City plays host to the World’s Fair which showcases the twenty known superhumans on Earth, fifteen of which are Mexican. The fair ends abruptly when current Mexican President Francisco I. Madero is killed during the Ten Days of Sorrow. Fighting flares up all across the city and many people witness unbridled superhuman destruction for the first time as the supers attempt to flee the violence.

1914- Archduke Ferdinand is assassinated by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip. This sets off a chain of events which unravels Otto von Bismarck’s carefully orchestrated diplomatic détente, ending forty years of peace. Soon the whole of Europe is swept up in the war. Before long, superhuman fighters and massive industrial weapons of war are brought to bear by the Kaiser’s modern military machine while the British and especially the French and Russians play catch up with their Napoleonic era armies. In the Western Hemisphere, the U.S. occupies the city of Veracruz, Mexico after nine U.S. sailors are captured and held prisoner by a super powered Mexican soldier. Despite having more supersoldiers than any other military on Earth, the Mexican government is slow to respond due to the ongoing revolution.

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1915- German hyperscience developed zeppelins obliterate English coastal towns, prompting Britain to up their naval game considerably by scouring the empire for super scientists. In America, Mary Mallon, also known as “Typhoid Mary”, develops the miraculous ability to project an infectious disease cloud from her body while remaining unharmed herself. She is captured and quarantined until her death three decades later. There are near a thousand known superhumans on Earth. Those of fighting age are quickly conscripted and sent to the front line but even superhumans are unprepared for the industrial scale of the war.

1916- The worst German gas attack of the war is perpetrated against French forces in Hulluch, France. Many hundreds die in the attack. Due to great losses for little gain, the German Commander of the Western Front, Falkenhayn, resigns and is replaced by General Eric Ludendorff and Field Marshall Paul von Hindenburg. Ludendorff has plans to create an Eastern German Empire from which he will strike against Britain and the U.S. in a theoretical future war, even going so far as making Crimea a German colony. To ensure victory, he requisitions the services of Spanish Super Scientist Dr. Felix Rivera in secret to create a new weapon capable of beating back the French.

1917- British cryptographers intercept a telegram from the German Empire intended for Mexico, asking for an alliance should the United States join the war against them. Had they succeeded, Mexico’s superhuman resources would have put a large wrench in the U.S. war effort, turning the tide of the European conflict, but despite itching to pay America back for Veracruz, in the end Mexico refuses, choosing to focus its strength at home. The United States enters the war shortly after. By this point, numerous units manned exclusively by soldiers of superhuman ability have been created by every nation in the conflict, the most famous being the Kaiserliche Ritter, the Extraordinary League of Britain, and L’armee Fantastique. Not to be left out, the U.S. develops its own super unit, codenamed the Liberty Brigade. Led by the courageous Columbia, the spirit of America, over a dozen elite superhuman fighters are hand selected for the dangerous assignment.

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1918- Dr. Rivera’s new bio-weapon is accidentally unleashed and the resulting pandemic, dubbed Spanish Flu, kills an estimated 100 million people worldwide. Dr. Rivera goes into hiding and the German Empire disavows any connection to the doctor. Around the same time, ghost sightings on the battlefield reach their peak. The first ghost fighters reported in the war had been the relatively tame Angels of Mon in 1914, called the Bowmen by witnesses on the ground. Four years later, full on ghost battalions fight for both sides, though their motives are as alien as their otherworldly appearance. The war ends in November and for the first time the general public realizes the threat that superhumans could pose when left unchecked. War veterans return home to mixed reactions, ranging from unease to outright alienation. The Middle East crumbles and Europe is left a smoking ruin. The Great Powers are laid low and a new order rises from the ashes.

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1919- Race riots consume America. In what will later be known as the Red Summer, whites are riled up into a frenzy of lynchings, shootings, and killings of Black Americans. Many veterans of the Great War participate as they were essentially replaced in the labor pools of their home cities by Blacks. Superhumans on both sides clash frequently. In late September, the Boston Purge takes place over several nights of rioting thanks to what started as a police union strike.

1920- In response to the alienation felt by superhuman war veterans and hoping to preserve his faltering legacy, President Woodrow Wilson calls for the passage of the General Integration Act or G.I. Bill, intended to ease the transition back into civilian life. This proves difficult with a waning economy and a post war peace.

 

Local History of Jet City and the Pacific Northwest

1901- The town of Jetty is incorporated on September 1st. What began as a small outpost in the late 1880’s is now an important go between for the port city of Everett and the mining town of Dorado.

1903- The Interurban Railway between Everett and Snohomish is inaugurated on December 1st.

1905- Prominent brothel and hotel owner Johanne Tritten establishes the Grand Aurora Hotel in Jetty, the first in the area. The Lewis and Clark Centennial expositions are held in Portland, Oregon, attracting exhibits and visitors from around the world.

1907- Mining operations in Dorado and Silver Town cease. Combined with the Panic of 1907, this sends the local economy tumbling.

1910- William Bremer, considered by many to be the founder of Bremerton, dies in his Seattle home.

1915- Ore is no longer being shipped by railroad and so Jetty becomes a logging and lumber town.

1916- After the maiden flight of a Boeing Model 1 Seaplane, the Boeing Company is officially incorporated in Seattle.

1917- As a result of the U.S. entering WWI, Johanne Tritten changes his name to Jonathan Trent in order to avoid the worst of the anti-german backlash. He manages to save his business from boycotts by tripling down on patriotic displays and condemning other German-American businessmen as traitors.

1918- WWI ends. War planes flood the commercial airplane market and Boeing is forced to diversify or be driven out of business like so many other aircraft companies.

1920- The Boeing Model 8 is the first plane to fly over Mt. Rainier. This inspires the independently wealthy Abraham Brighton to get into the airplane game, though it’s a hard market to break into thanks to the high supply of planes.

 

Notable Figures

El Chacal- “The Jackal”. Estefan Morera was a Mexican masked vigilante who fought against corrupt Mexican aristocrats in the name of the poor and down trodden with naught but a rapier and superhuman reflexes. He is the first scientifically verified superhuman in history.

Dr. Miguel Valencia- A young and idealistic scientist who believed that mankind was capable of greatness beyond imagining. His work will change the world forever and have lasting effects on the superhuman community that continue to this day.

Columbia- The Spirit of America and leader of the United States Super Unit known as the Liberty Brigade. Columbia’s birth and parentage are unknown, even by her, though the women who ran the orphanage where she was found say the name pinned to her basinet was Mary. She knew at an early age that there was something different about her, but it wasn’t until the other girls gawked when she flung hay bails over her head like bouncy balls did she know for sure. She ran away from the orphanage, her existence mere rumor and myth for years until her reappearance at the World Expo in Mexico City. She proved her formidable fighting ability when she saved dozens of civilians as they fled the worst of the Ten Days of Sorrow. Her inclusion as a symbol and leader of Liberty Brigade was a no-brainer by War Department bureaucrats, though the top brass were flustered by the inclusion of a woman in their ranks.

Johanne Tritten/Jonathan Trent- A hotel owner and real estate mogul whose family will affect the Northwest for years to come.

Dr. Felix Rivera- A renowned scientist turned super scientist, Rivera’s weaponized H1N1 Influenza virus caused the first modern pandemic and led to untold deaths in the midst of WWI.

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