Saturday, July 26, 2014

Groups of Note: Persona

The Persona Corporation, formerly Transhuman Research Solutions, started life as one of the million or so companies that sprang up after the Weizmann Institute released its findings on superpowers. Everyone thought they had struck gold, and venture capital flowed like water. 95% of those companies went under, and the other 5% either consolidated or went totally private.

Founding

TRS was founded in the late '70s, a decade after the public emergence of superhumans. It was the first to replicate, even at its most basic form, the benefits of a superhuman biology. Although it could not give people super-powers, its line of human enhancement drugs, revitalizing agents, and medical processes have given it a decisive edge in the marketplace.

9/11 left the American All-Stars, the United States' national super-team, in a state of total demoralization. As the Iraq war got underway and more information came out about the attack, everyone tried to figure out what the hell happened. In theory, ACTION was supposed to coordinate, integrate, and distribute intelligence information, and the All-Stars felt that something had gone horribly wrong in this process. Days after the release of the 9/11 Commission Report, the All-Stars announced they were disbanding.

The Icons

In 2003, TRS responded to the lack of a national team by announcing a contract with the government. It would recruit selected superhumans, form them into a team, see to their specialized needs, and so on. This team became known as the Icons, and they were meant to act as role models for unaffiliated superhumans who weren't sure how to use their unique skills. And the company announced a name change: it was now the Persona Corporation.

Since then, the Icons have been a model not only for American supers, but for other national teams around the world. Persona's supers have been selfless, loyal, and dedicated to their cause. A whole generation of young superhumans have grown up idolizing them.

Persona's two main sources of income are the licensing of its research and technology into superhuman powers, and the manufacture and sale of various pharmaceutical and biochemical products derived from that research.

Persona and Supervillains

The Icons don't normally fight supervillains directly. They're more of rescue organization, though they will step in when a fight gets out of hand. This is good for us, as they're well-financed, well-trained, and professional.

Most of the problem Persona represents is a morale or PR issue - they make superheroing look good, which promotes more superheroes. This is obviously not awesome for villainy. That said, more novice heroes vs. experienced villains can be a good thing - if we can get the upper hand and establish a mindset of villain superiority, we win the long game. The Icons haven't radically changed anything in the hero-villain power balance in the decade or more they've been a team, so it remains to be seen which way that balance will shift.