Prologue

The Golden Age (also known as the Heroic Age, the Empowered Age, or the Caped Age) is a period in human history following the emergence of the world’s first empowered individual, Preceptor, on March 3, 2022, and the social and political changes that the existence of him and his ilk brought about. The term was drawn from classical Greek mythology, denoting an idyllic era of peace.

While the Golden Age brought with it a host of technological, cultural and social advancements, it also ushered in the frightful rise of empowered criminals, or supervillains as they became commonly known. By the early 2030s, in the wake of several atrocities committed by those supervillains, public opposition to empowered individuals culminated in a period of global upheaval known as the Paroxysm, leaving millions dead.

In 2038, the United Nations formed the International Powered Security Agency in response to the increasing amount of catastrophic empowered incidents around the globe. This was seen as necessary in order to regulate what had become a global issue, with the threat of an unprecedented global cataclysm being compared to the threat of MAD during the nuclear arms race of the late Twentieth Century.

The Golden Age is typically regarded as coming to an end by the conclusion of 2050, where colorful Golden Age ‘cape culture’ had been transformed into empowered law enforcement departments. Since then, the term Golden Age is seen as connoting a sense of naivete or optimism and is often used by political groups in a critical sense, seeking to erode empowered security organizations on both the national and global scale.

-Excerpt from a high school history textbook published in 2061.

Where should I begin?

It’s a question I’ve pondered for years. It’s a strange feeling, to know that you lived through the beginning and ending of an age of history.

They say the beginning and the end are the one and the same. And since I was there at the end, I shall begin.

The Golden Age was named by us, the first ‘great capes’, for its accuracy. It was to be an age where great tasks were accomplished. It would have ushered in an age of transcendent harmony, where no man would have wanted for anything, where the people of Earth would prosper under the watchful eyes of benevolent guardians.

We brought technologies that had been the realm of science fiction to solve the energy crisis. We brought a utopia from the bottom of the ocean to serve as a model for the future world. We brought down each and every villain who endeavored to use their powers to bring cataclysm as opposed to revelation. We brought hope as we walked the world like giants, making everything right in the goal of putting an end to suffering. Not even the gods of old Olympus, in all of their divinity, could have imagined what we aimed to achieve.

But what we could not change was human nature.

The world repaid our nascent utopia with a paroxysm of blood, fire, and murder, with registration and regulation, with institutional bureaucracy that crushed any hope of individual nobility.

Ending the Golden Age didn’t save the world – it killed it. And by the time anyone realized it, it was all too late.

-Excerpt from the unpublished memoirs of the empowered figure Demigod.

Next: Part 1 – Things Fall Apart

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