The World of Second Wave
Here is the history of the world of the Second Wave.
The First Wave
Up until a few years ago the world was, as far as the general public was concerned, normal. There was strangeness, the supernatural and the paranormal, but it was happening out of the public eye and was generally the realm of conspiracy theory and such. So the Twentieth Century had its share of globetrotting adventurers and masked vigilantes in the 1920s and 30s, secret occult wars with the Nazis during World War II, and UFOs and atomic horrors in the 1950s. Counterculture mysticism was a thing in the 1960s; and what was really happening in the jungles of Vietnam during the war? Did Apollo 11 find something on the Moon that was covered up by the US government? Capitalism and materialism rose in the 1970s into the 1980s as the rich got richer and the poor got poorer, and there was a return of the urban vigilante against the tail end of the Cold War during the Reagan and Thatcher years. The 1990s were another period of transition as the world adjusted to the fall of Communism and the shift in global power and fears for the new Millennium. Maybe there was a group of adventurers that prevented the end of the world on December 31, 1999; or maybe not. The Twin Towers still came down on 9/11, there were no super-heroes yet that might have prevented or eased the tragedy or the wars that followed.
2015 was the year everything changed. On July 30 of that year a blast of a previously unknown form of cosmic energy struck the planet. The energy was in the form of a wave crest that impacted over the northern hemisphere. The most direct impact was over the North Atlantic, but the wave also struck the eastern United States and Canada as well as Western Europe at more oblique angles. The wave passed through the planet emerging on the opposite side and continuing on, but the only inhabited areas it hit were New Zealand and parts of southern Australia. Five years on the effects of the wave are still being studied, but the most predominant was that a small number of people were given superhuman powers.
This did not immediately give rise to comic book style super-heroes. There were a few very public figures, but they did not suddenly throw on costumes and start fighting crime. The rise of the super-heroes came a few months later. At Christmas the European Space Agency announced the discovery of alien life on Mars; not native Martian life, but an actual intelligent alien who had landed on Mars and made contact with the ESA's Praxis Mars Lander. It took several weeks to establish any form of real communication, and when the alien could make itself understood its message turned out to be a warning, one that almost came too late.
On February 5, 2016 the first scout vessels from an alien force arrived on Earth, and two days later the rest of the invasion fleet arrived. The alien who had landed on Mars, who the media had named Praxia, had come to warn Earth about the coming invasion. With international relations at a low point the efforts by the United Nations to coordinate a planetary defense went slowly, with the Security Council members bickering over which nation would be in charge. The aliens, dubbed The Scourge, did not care about international politics and landed attack forces across the globe. Military response was limited, and each nation's armed forces concentrated on the alien invaders within their own borders.
In the end it was the superhumans that saved the day. The public figures banded together along with the alien Praxia and launched a counterattack against the Scourge's command vessel which had positioned itself in the middle of the Atlantic (the invasion beachheads were more concentrated in the regions that had been struck by the Cosmic Wave, with most theories positing that the arrival of the Scourge was somehow linked to it). The Scourge leadership was destroyed, which left the remaining alien forces in disarray and the rest were defeated or driven off Earth by the superhumans and conventional military forces. The bulk of the fighting was over by February 12, leading to the invasion to be dubbed the One Week War.
In the aftermath of this the superhumans who had defeated the aliens decided to remain together to help deal with other global threats. They became known as the Protectors and are officially sanctioned by the United Nations (though they are privately funded). The members now have costumes and codenames and their emergence is the real start of Super-Heroes in the world. While the Protectors were the most public and well known Super-Heroes to emerge from the Wave, they were not the only ones. In the months that followed several others appeared, and not all of them were the good guys. The Earth is now a planet inhabited by costumed heroes and villains; a comic book world.
Four years after the alien invasion and the emergence of Super-Heroes, it is a very different world. Now, for an as yet unknown reason, there is a new wave of superhumans emerging.
The Scourge are an alien race that has a relationship to the Wave. The Scourge armada follows in the wake of the Wave, invading planets affected by the phenomenon. The exact reason for this is not known, but based on observations there may be an as-yet unidentified residual energy left from the passage of the Wave and the Scourge invade the planets in order to harvest this energy.
The Scourge are technologically advanced, with spacecraft capable of traveling at faster-than-light speeds, energy-based weaponry, and biotechnology they use to alter themselves into a variety of forms. The most commonly encountered Scourge were their soldiers, which had the appearance of strange dinosaur/reptile/insect hybrids with a lower half of a long tail and two powerful legs similar to theropod dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurs or Velociraptors; large torsos with four arms, two lower arms similar to a humans and two upper arms like giant versions of a praying mantis' forelimbs, and a carnosaurian head but with insect-like compound eyes. The soldiers stood an average of about 8-feet tall and carried powerful energy rifles for ranged weapons and used their razor-sharp upper limbs in close combat.