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New Freedom


Avenger Assembled

New Freedom

There's a reason why you don't hear much about the only country on Earth-Prime run by and for superhumans: it's not a very nice, or very hospitable, place to live. Back in 1938, Kreigsmarine Captain Alfred Ritscher commanded the Third German Antarctic Expedition, officially aiming to build a whaling station (and possible naval base) for the Third Reich in Antarctica. (Ritscher's genuine target was of course the extra-terrestrial city discovered by the ill-fated Lake Expedition of 1931). Despite the high adventure and terrifying ordeals faced by the Nazi explorers in the interior of the islands, the German sailors and soldiers posted to the secret Kriegsmarine base in New Swabia actually considered it something a punishment detail, given the length of time between resupply missions and the harsh conditions of the Antarctic coast. In 1943, American superheroes interrupted an attempt to transport a shoggoth by U-Boat, and the subsequent damage caused by the creature rendered the base uninhabited.

Until 1946, when an American superhero arrived. Othello (born Paul Leroy) was a New Jersey native by birth, a Freedom City son whose mutant abilities had manifested in 1940 during his time on the Freedom City Watchmen, Freedom's Negro League baseball team that later merged with the Flags. With strength, speed, leaping, and invulnerability akin to the early Centurion's, Othello was a smart man, a former political science major at Freedom City College who recognized that his strongly left-wing political leanings would be held against him in the conservative climate after the war. He worried in particular that his superhuman abilities would make him a target by government scientists, who he felt had targeted him for particularly dangerous missions during the war so as to eliminate him as a political actor.

Visiting New Swabia in secret, Othello used his speed and strength to rebuild the shattered and melted fortifications, give decent Christian burial to all the dead Nazis, and make the former German settlement fit for human habitation again. He used his connections in the OSS to cover his work, recruiting several disaffected Allied supers and inviting them to join him in his plans to build a homestead in the last frontier on Earth. By 1950, when word of their activities finally reached a distracted United States, Othello had recruited a half-dozen former American, British, and French super-agents and their families to his cause. President Truman dispatched the Patriot to deal with his old comrade, and two days before the outbreak of the Korean War, Simmons met Othello at the Schirmacher Oasis for a conversation that had unfortunately not been recorded by historians. The Patriot left Antarctica with a recommendation to his superiors that they leave the (technically-illegal) base alone, going to his own destiny alongside the Atomic Brigade later.

Time passed, and the colony's population slowly grew. Several Chinese super-agents opted to resettle in Antarctica after choosing to remain in UN hands after the Korean War, while Othello made the controversial decision to accept the immigration of selected Ubersoldaten (only those who had either served their time or had not committed formal war crimes) and their families to the colony he had dubbed New Freedom. The coastal settlement was theoretically under American and UN auspices, but in practice it was something new, a colony of superhumans and the normals they loved, an independent republic under the auspices of the now-greying Othello and his family. With the weather-manipulating Hosato making the region hospitable and the teleporting Mathson providing transportation and formidable scientific expertise, the cold ice of one small corner of Antarctica gradually became habitable in shirtsleeves even by the smallest mundane child. Othello proved his desire for independence when he repelled an 'incident' carried out secretly by Soviet super-agents in 1957, and again in 1961 when he defeated an uprising against his leadership organized by agents of Dr. Sin.

It was a social experiment, a colony of several hundred hardy souls whose primary goal was freedom: in New Freedom, superhumans could live without fear of discrimination (that they faced in many Third World countries), fear of conscription (that they faced in the Warsaw Pact and various dictatorships) or simply an inability to fit in with the conservative social consensus of the West. Every man and woman was equal, powered or otherwise, and everyone was valued by the community. And all of it, at least in theory, under the auspices of the American government and the United Nations. It all came to a crashing halt in 1968, when AEGIS arrived to arrest the Drifter.

Peter Hopper, given powers by a secret government experiment some years earlier, had abandoned his post in South Vietnam, fleeing to Antarctica to escape desertion charges and bringing with him shocking evidence of corruption in the highest corridors of power in Washington, centered around the Golden Triangle of opium trade in Southeast Asia. When AEGIS agents showed up in force, brushing past Othello's automatic offer of sanctuary for the wanted criminals, blows were struck, and then shots were fired. When all was said and done, the AEGIS carrier was down, the Drifter was dead (by 'suicide'), and Othello had made up his mind. Though Jack Simmons showed up to personally apologize and arrest the rogue agents in New Freedom's custody, Othello had seen enough. He personally ran to Washington to deliver New Freedom's Declaration of Independence. The world's first metahuman nation was born.

Things were bad after that. New Freedom had gained their dream, but at the cost of trade embargoes by the West and East, both of whom saw the new nation as a threat to their imperial destiny. There were more attacks by the Eastern Bloc, and supervillains too saw New Freedom as an egg suddenly abandoned by its mother. War came to Antarctica, a quiet, vicious war waged in the snowy outskirts and fertile fields of the small country. The defenders of New Freedom learned to kill to defend themselves, and Othello reluctantly allowed his country to become part of the non-aligned block. The superhuman nature of the early settlers meant that New Freedom had, by a huge margin, the most superpowered population on Earth. Young men and women of Antarctica became mercenaries and superagents, renting themselves to South Africa and Israel, Taiwan and Pakistan, all the 'rogue nations' of the Cold War era looking for, but lacking, superpowered protectors.

New Freedom began to take in more and more disreputable elements; Portuguese from Goa and white settlers from Rhodesia, along with wealthy superhumans who liked the nation's lack of extradition treaties, and the dream looked very close to dying. Othello died in 1983, the Presidency of New Freedom inherited by Jade Harper, a Eurasian chemically-powered agent who had been one of the most lethal warriors of Southeast Asia. Jade had come of age in a New Freedom constantly under attack from within and without, and had learned her tradecraft in some of the most vicious fighting of the Cold War. She did not have the loyalty to the United States that her predecessor had maintained in his heart of hearts, nor did she want to maintain the democratic traditions he had established. By the Terminus Invasion, New Freedom was nothing of the sort.

New Freedom Today

Leah Harper, of mixed Vietnamese, Israeli, and Irish heritage, inherited the Presidency of New Freedom from her mother in 2010 after one of Jade's many enemies finally caught up with her. Leah presides over a nation of some 10,000 souls, a uniquely multi-ethnic melting pot recently increased by migrants from Iraq, Hong Kong, and Albania. New Freedom is a harsh place, a tightly unified dictatorial republic presided over by the President and her appointed Council. Over two-thirds of the population is superhuman in one way or another (superpowers being the only guaranteed path to legal migration), and one of the primary job tracks (as well as a good way to keep the population down and get rid of young people With Ideas) is work as a foreign mercenary in Africa and Central Asia, or as a supercriminal in the United States. New Freedomites speak English with a faint, unique accent, and look to be of no particular race.

The nation is not actually a United Nations member, but their population is large enough, and powerful enough, that no one has ever worked up the resources to do anything about their government. The Harpers have written several long, didactic books of political theory justifying their rule, the sort much beloved by poorly socialized high school students and undergraduates: New Freedom's government is strictly utilitarian, and is as likely to take in North Korean super-exiles as they are to rent the services of their own citizens to the Kim family as legbreakers and goons. It's true that superhumans can live like kings in New Freedom, insulated from many of the laws restricting their activities in more civilized nations...assuming they don't mind the dark grey clothing, the political indoctrination, the cramped living conditions, and the nationwide commitment to service, order, and peace.

It's not a bad way to live, if you're well-connected and can get access to the resources of the outside world that work outside the country so often brings. Leah herself worked for various American mercenary companies in the 1990s and 2000s, and she has many connections still in Washington and Baghdad. (She hopes to be able to bring over former super-agents of the various Arab dictatorships facing overthrow at the time of this writing.) People who can't, or won't live the New Freedom way leave. The ones that have seen too much die, or change their names, all trying to avoid a hit squad made up of lethal, professional ex-black ops agents with connections all over the world. Like so many new nations, New Freedom has kept its independence, but lost its soul. It's a land that needs heroes.

New Freedom Characters

New Freedom is the home of the superhero Errant, the heroic scion of a legacy of metahuman telepathic enforcers. 

 

Edited by Avenger Assembled

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