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Chapter 1 (The Institute)
High in the mountains above Geneva, Switzerland, is one of the
best-kept secrets known to man. Secret in so much that it is not known
to the common citizens of the nations of the world. Among those tall
forbidding peaks, lies the Institute. The Institute is a training
facility for the meta-humans who defend all the peoples of the earth
from dangers both seen and unseen. Managed by an oversight committee
made up of appointed member nation representatives and working in
conjunction with the United Nations, the Institute helps shape the
skills and abilities of the heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
I was sent to the Institute at the age of thirteen and it would become
by home for the next five years. I am a meta-human, the variety of
which that is more commonly called a mutant. My powers first manifested
at the age of thirteen while I was living in an orphanage in
Copenhagen, Denmark. I never knew who my parents were or where I came
from. All I know of my background is I was left as an infant on the
steps of the orphanage and it was the only home I had ever knew. One
day while climbing across the roof of one building to another, an
activity that all of us engaged in when unobserved by our keepers, I
fell. This fall was over 35 feet and at its conclusion, I was badly
injured. I am told that I broke both legs, my pelvis, several ribs and
fractured my skull. I was unaware of this at the time, as I also had
fell into a coma. Doctors were summoned and I was transported to the
nearby hospital and placed in an intensive care ward. The prognosis was
not good and I was not expected to live beyond the next day. However, a
miraculous event occurred that night, I healed. Overnight I went from
to death’s door to perfect health. Needless to say, this caused
quite a bit of confusion until further testing confirmed that indeed I
was a mutant with the ability to regenerate injury. The traumatic
injuries that I had sustained was the catalyst that awakened my
ability. My status was reported to the government as per the Meta-Human
Registration Act and I was quickly removed from the orphanage and sent
to the Institute.
I remember the first time I saw the château as I was driven up
the long twisting road that snaked up the side of the mountain. Having
nothing to compare it to but the state run orphanage that had been my
home, I thought it was a castle or even a palace fit for a king. Upon
arrival we were met by Headmaster Boyden and I quickly learned that
this palace was a school. A very difficult school that not only taught
it’s students to use the extraordinary abilities they possessed,
but also an education in the classics as well as the latest in
technology and science. I learned that the Institute was a place that
existed outside the boundaries of country or state. It had been
determined by the powers of the world that the Institute and it’s
grounds were to be neutral and for the benefit of all the nations of
the earth. It was here that I was to spend my next five years. I
learned from some of the greatest minds of our age and study the works
of the great minds of ages past. Now it is important to note, lest you
have the idea that the Institute is solely academic, that in addition
to developing the mind the body is exercised as well. The level of
physical training is certainly beyond anything that you would find
short of an elite military unit. Students learn many different types of
hand-to-hand combat styles, in addition to marksmanship, survival
skills, acrobatics, investigative techniques, and anything else
today’s superhero needs to survive outside the walls of the
Institute. Time spent studying, living and socializing here is well
spent indeed; as through the tutelage received the students become the
best at what they do.
My time as a student flew by and I absorbed all the information that I
could find. I felt as if I had finally found my place in the world and
discovered that I had a purpose and destiny to make that world a better
place. It was discovered that regeneration was not my only meta-human
ability. As time went by, it was found that I had an innate aptitude
for hand-to-hand combat and seemed almost precognitive in anticipating
my opponents next move. Furthermore, I found that I could levitate
myself off the ground and travel through the air solely by willpower.
It has been theorized that I will continue to discover new meta-human
abilities as I mature.
During my final year at the Institute, I was told about the special
group that functions as field operatives. This group, The
Internationals, is made up of heroes from many different countries from
around the world. They work independently from the Institute and only
answer to the United Nations. Their membership is drawn primarily from
Institute alumni and some even serve as instructors when not active in
the field. There can only be one hero per gender for each country, and
named after their country of origin, in The Internationals’
ranks. When there is a vacancy in those ranks, the competition to fill
that slot is quite heated. Those graduating students who do not qualify
to become a part of The Internationals, either due to their particular
country already having an active representative or failure to meet the
stringent requirements to join, are given “non-country
based” names and costumes upon graduation and begin their life as
an independent superhero. Occasionally current students are even
allowed to join The Internationals, if they can provide an ability that
is needed for a specific mission. In those cases, they carry the name
“Little” before the name of their country. To the best of
my knowledge, my country of origin was Denmark and upon my graduation,
there was a current Mr. Denmark active with The Internationals;
therefore, I was barred from joining the illustrious group. I was
provided with a sent of indestructible claws, a blue and gray battles
suit and given the name Havoc and sent forth to fight evil and
injustice. It was under this identity that I began my career as a
I traveled to Paragon City, Rhode Island, United States of America and
established myself in the Kings Row neighborhood. This neighborhood had
once been quite nice and filled with homes and businesses; however, now
a gang that called itself the Hellions overran it. Now the businesses
were closed, or burned out, for refusing to pay protection money to the
Hellions, and the families all lived in fear in the many slums that had
grown like a cancer in this neighborhood. My first job was to bring
relief to this besieged part of the city. I would move against one off
the major leaders of the Hellions and break his gang once and for all.
My plan was to infiltrate Big Jim Sullivan’s gang of Hellions and
upon learning the location of his base of operations, prepare a raid
and destroy the gang. But plans are easier made than executed and I had
no idea how I was to go about infiltrating such a devilish group of
That opportunity came suddenly and from an unexpected direction one
cold and gloomy February morning. While walking out for coffee and a
bite to eat, before I put on my costume and began prowling the back
alleys of Kings Row; I heard a cry for help from a dark alley. I raced
into the alley and was confronted by four members of the Skulls gang
attempting to rob a young woman. Before they could react, I launched a
flying sidekick into the chest of the closest gang member. He collapsed
to the ground in a heap and offered no further hostility as I turned
toward his three friends.
“Hey jackass, you’ve picked the wrong alley and started
something you’re going to regret”, snarled the punk who was
holding the young woman by the arm.
Look friends, I think there has been some sort of misunderstanding.
Just leave the lady alone and go about your business. There is no need
for anyone else to get hurt, I replied as I moved to where they could
not circle behind me.
“The only one whose going to get hurt is you buddy!” the second yelled as he rushed me from the right side.
Because of the training I had received at the Institute, his punch
seemed slow and clumsy. I easily avoided his attack and responded with
right hook to his stomach and an overhand left to his right temple. Now
two gang members were stretched out unconscious on filthy and
trash-strewn ground. The remaining Skulls decided discretion was the
better part of valor and after hurling several profanities and obscene
gestures, fled the alley. With the threat gone, I was able to assist
the young woman to her feet and check on her well being. She appeared
to be about twenty-five years of age, with red hair and green eyes;
with just a dusting of freckles. Overall, she was quite an attractive
Are you okay? I inquired as she regained her feet and began dusting herself off from her brief contact with the filthy alley.
I’m okay now. Thank goodness that you came along. I’d hate
to think how this might have turned out otherwise. I’m Katherine
she said as she stuck out a hand, introducing herself. But all my
friends call me Kate.
I shook her hand and introduced myself as Mike. I am just glad I was
here and able to help out, I replied. If you are okay, I guess I will
be on my way and I began to move toward the entrance of the alley.
Wait! She called as I turned away from her. Let me buy you breakfast or
at least a cup of coffee. I know this little place near by. Their eggs
are runny and their toast is burnt; but they make the best cup of joe
in the whole Row.
So we walked down the street, stepping over the garbage and making our
way toward the café. As we walked, I asked her why she had been
attacked by those gang members. Were they just after her purse or did
she know them?
No, I’ve never seen those punks before. Actually, this
isn’t really their turf anyway. If my bro knew what had happened,
there’d be hell to pay.
Your brother? Is he a police officer or something? I asked.
Well, I guess he would be best classified as the “or
something”, she answered with a small laugh. With that, she
turned and stuck out her hand again waiting for me to shake it.
I’m Kate Sullivan. My brother is Jim Sullivan, “Big Jim
Sullivan”. The leader of the Kings Row Hellions and you can bet
there’ll be hell to pay for the Skulls when he hears about what
So I found myself standing there on a dirty and cold Kings Row street,
shaking the hand of the sister of the man who held this community in
vice grip of crime and fear. It is funny how things work out, by dumb
luck I had found my way into the Hellions.
Is this café and best cup of coffee in the whole Row much
farther? I asked. No, it’s just around the corner she replied and
we began walking again.
After a few more steps I decided to push my luck. So your brother, Big
Jim, do you think you could introduce me? You see, I am new to town and
I really need to get some work, otherwise I will be living in that
alley we just left, I said with a smile.
Sure, I’d be happy to introduce you. When he finds out that you
saved his baby sister from some punk Skulls, he’s going to love
you. At the very least you can get some work. But I bet when he hears
how easily you took those guys down, he’ll have a place for you
in his organization for sure. There’s the café up ahead.
We stepped into the café and the smell of eggs, burnt toast and
coffee. We moved to an empty table in the corner and I wondered how
someone as attractive and nice as Kate could be related to the head of
a criminal organization. Soon I would be meeting “Big Jim”
and if I could get close enough to get the information I needed, I
would put an end to his reign of crime on this neighborhood. But first,
I was going to let Kate buy me a cup of coffee and plan my next move.
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