A BRIEF HISTORY OF CAPE CITY

Cape City was founded by French fur traders in 1680. They chose a strategic spot where the Frontier River flows out of the Kootchoowa Hills to meet Lake Inferior (the smallest and least-known of the Great Lakes), and named the city Castille de Croissant after the fertile crescent-shaped plain where the Downtown district is today. By the time of the Louisiana Purchase, the settlement had become a thriving city, sometimes called "the Northern New Orleans."

Once the region was annexed by the United States, the city was flooded with Anglo-minded settlers from the eastern seaboard, who officially re-named the city "Cape City" in 1805. It became one of the chief cities of the west, and by the time of the Civil War it already had nascent industries - particularly in the areas of ironworks, textiles, cattle, and coal. Cape City's factories were hurriedly converted to arms production, and the city has been known as a leader in small arms manufacturing ever since.

During Reconstruction, the city thrived on the fortunes it made during the war; many of the prominent family fortunes that affect the city today were made in this era - the Farqwaters, Highbois and Callahans, just to name a few. Many great public works were begun - the main campus of Cape State University, the Museum of Natural History, the great stone park of the Downtown Pavilion. Immigrants from all over the world flocked to the city to take steady construction and service jobs. Cape City was becoming a center of commerce, as well as industry, and by the turn of the century, it was the fourth-largest city in the United States and was considered world-class by almost every standard.

During the explosion of industrial growth that swept the United States in the early 1900's, Cape City soared to even greater heights. The standard of living was excellent, which sparked further population growth. But there was an ugly underside to this prosperity - the crushing poverty of the city's poor, who did not share the relatively affluent lifestyle of their neighbors. In 1910, the Spurk Street Bread Riots erupted, leaving hundreds dead and a permanent scar on the soul of the city. The First World War saw Cape City's arms plants go back into action, and the Ares Munitions Company became the city's single largest employer. After the war, the city's fortunes soared once more - along with the rest of the country. The Roaring Twenties were in full swing.

It was at this time the first superheroes arrived. Gangbuster, the Crimson Fist, Kilowatt the Electric Man, and the original Skyscraper did battle with the likes Baron Khan, Fossil, the Frog, and Sister Sin. It was a time of giants, a time of legends. As the gilded bubble of the Roaring Twenties burst and the pangs of the Great Depression set in, people found they needed these heroes more than ever. Thanks to Roosevelt's New Deal programs and the generosity of the Farqwater Charitable Foundation, Cape City suffered less than some others during the Depression - but for the poor, now isolated in ethnic ghettos like Chinatown, Little Italy and Shamrock Street, times were tough; belts were tightened; people feared a repeat of the infamous Spurk Street Bread Riots. Fortunately no similar incidents took place, and the city slowly pulled out of the Depression along with the rest of the nation. It took war, however, to get Cape City's factories humming at full tilt - World War II.

The famous arms factories churned once more, this time taking a major role in the construction of tanks and airplanes for the war effort. As noted by the famed hero Gangbuster in his biography "Cape City Hero: The Secret Origins of Gangbuster," the public's fascination with superheroes waned during the war, and the focus turned to the normal heroes who fought the Axis superpowers with nothing but training, a rifle, and courage. Many superheroes went underground or retired during the war; some of them actually joined up and went to Europe or the South Pacific to lend their unique talents to the fight for freedom. Eventually the war ended, as all wars do, and life returned to a semblance of normalcy in Cape City.

The post-war period, or the Eisenhower Era, witnessed Cape City's full transformation into a major industrial city. The Ares Munitions Company, now outdated in the age of the atom, re-tooled and became Mars Motor Company. Their fleet of new vehicles, including the Canal Cruiser and the family-friendly Phobos, put Cape City on the map with Detroit and other major auto-manufacturing cities. The Farqwater and Callahan fortunes combined to form JCN Business Systems, which would become a world leader in computing. Massive new construction projects were engaged, and Cape City experienced its first "sprawl" problems, as thousands of returning veterans purchased homes in new suburban developments on the fringes of the city.

This era also saw the return of the superheroes. With legends like Gangbuster now retired, a new generation of heroes rose to combat the evils of the day. Of these the most famous were the Crimson Fist and The Rat, who, along with Helping Hand, founded the Defenders in 1958 and constructed the space-age Defenders Hall. With Baron Khan underground and presumed dead, new enemies came onto the scene: Red Menace, Father Apocalypse and Phobos and Diemos, the Terror Twins, among others. Most of these villains wreaked havoc throughout the 1960's, until their final demise at the hands of the Defenders.

The Sixties were a time of turbulent changes, and things were no different in Cape City. Opposition to the war in Vietnam flared on the campus of Cape State University, and there was an ugly incident between Helping Hand and demonstrators that resulted in the Harrington Act, a precursor to the Kratsky Resolution, which defended costumed vigilantes from lawsuits resulting from their actions. Meanwhile, industry continued to thrive in Cape City, as the minor players in the arms manufacturing field churned out helicopters and M-60 ammo for the troops in Vietnam. The Farqwaters engaged in a massive public works program that resulted in the famous TV13 Tower, the Balzac Building, and the UberPillar, an office building that still ranks as one of the tallest in the world. Mars Motors and JCN were running full-bore, and Cape City's fortunes continued to rise.

In the late Sixties, a new threat arose: The gang of super-villains known as the Royal Flush. Named for playing cards, the group was led by the psychopathic genius Jack of Clubs. Their reign of terror came to an end in the early 1970's, when the Crimson Fist and the Rat put the Jack of Clubs behind bars, leaving his daughter Penny in an orphanage for disturbed children that would later become Miss Charlotte's School for Exceptional Young Ladies. The young Penny would, of course, grow up to be the successful CEO of Ali's Little Secret, a cosmetics company, and more notably, the infamous villain Penny Dreadful. For a short space of about two years, it seemed Cape City had no enemies of any note. The heroes of the Eisenhower Era were aging, and the spark went out of public interest in superheroes - that is, until Baron Khan returned.

The infamous "powersuit comeback" of 1974 saw Baron Khan's destruction of the Farqwater Building, which killed thousands. The elderly villain, replete with a powersuit that augmented his failing physical powers, was finally defeated by the Crimson Fist and the Rat in their last adventure together; the Crimson Fist died of cancer two years later, and the Rat faced unlikely prosecution for dropping Baron Khan down a 60-story elevator shaft. This act, in addition to the heavy-handed tactics some heroes used to put down student demonstrations, led to the passage of the Kratsky Resolution in 1977. This act required all superheroes (or "costumed vigilantes," according to the legalese) to register with the federal government or face prosecution. Under the act, registered heroes had the same sorts of legal rights and restrictions as bounty hunters. Unlicensed heroes could face all manor of persecution for their activities, regardless of motivation. This came at an unfortunate time, as the late 1970's saw an influx of new villains like The Slug, Johnny Nitrate, and Endochrine. The heros Phaser and Holo arose to combat them, but both went underground rather than face registration. The Rat disappeared before he could be prosecuted, and to this day no one knows what became of him.

The Eighties and Nineties witnessed the birth of a new generation of heroes - the Defenders, whose ranks had been depleted following the passage of the Kratsky Resolution, were reinvigorated by the arrival of Overman, the most powerful hero Cape City - and possibly the world - had ever known. With Helping Hand and Cinder, Woman of Flame, Overman imprisoned The Slug and Endochrine, and, word has it, accidentally killed the hapless Johnny Nitrate. The rest of the Eighties passed more or less peacefully in Cape City, and Overman was rumored to have spent a great deal of time in South America and Eastern Europe, helping the CIA to facilitate the end of the Cold War.

In the Nineties, Cape City suffered a minor recession, as JCN Business Systems sold out to Sung Technologies, a Korean Firm, and thousands of jobs were sent overseas. Still, the standard of living was good, and there were always jobs to be had on the docks, or the Mars Motor plants, or in one of the countless businesses still owned by the Farqwaters, Highbois, and Callahans. It was during the mid-90's that Hurricane Jane roared onto the scene. She was quickly recruited by Penny Dreadful, who emerged from obscurity to terrorize Cape City with various nefarious schemes. A visually appealing but psychologically disturbing crime duo known as Strumpet and Jailbait also committed several noteworthy atrocities. The Brute, a hideous mutant thought to be from Mexico City, also arrived and began his own reign of terror. With Overman often away dealing with major problems in other cities, the ranks of the Defenders were augmented by the new Skysraper and The Fox, who was formerly the villain known as Jailbait, reformed under the motherly guidance of Cinder.

And that was the status quo at the turn of the millennium. In the early years of the first decade of the 21st century, new villains would arise - and a new generation of heroes would arise to combat them. This campaign is their story.

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