Well, everyone else is doing it.
The history of the Hand.
The Black Hand is perhaps the single most pervasive threat in the entire universe. Their influence stretches across every corner of reality, and their machinations have spanned the entire life span of the cosmos. Though they call themselves a humble cult, they are in truth more akin to a Psuedo-theocratic Secret Empire. Their resources are seemingly limitless, drawing upon the disaffected and easily swayed members of every society as well as the descendants of those who followed them in the past. Countless families have been part of the black hand from generation to generation, each one being even more deeply ensnared into the Black Hand's clutches than the last one. Their elite are composed of some of the oldest, darkest, and vilest individuals in the cosmos, all centered around the mysterious "Dark Triad".
The Cult of the Black hand formed out of the Dominion of the Black Hand, an empire formed by an alliance of the Archlich Vrakmul Harvigis DiMarco, the Night Gaunt Nexatos Xvl'zl Cth'iok, and the Death Knight Kargoth Jarvik Trodenstoff in a very distant universe a very long time ago. From what records survive, the Dominion was a terribly evil organization where the undead ruled over the living, an edifice to Vrakmul's constant hungering for more power. It invaded countless worlds and was in the process of conquering other planes such as the Olympian glades of Aborea and the Nine Hells of Baator. Vrakmul apparently had plans to use his empire to allow him to ascend to the status of an overgod and rule his universe with absolute cosmic and magic power. However, the sapient cannibalistic universe known as the Icon came to consume their universe.
The Dominion of the Black Hand tried to repulse the Icon with every trick in the book, but even their realities most powerful gods and artifacts could not even harm the beast and the endless legions of monsters it had brought with it, lead by the monster known as Orlok the Eternal, were beyond the Dominion's ability to deal with. From here, Nexatos, awed by the Icon's power, approached the universe that hungers and offered their service to the Icon if only it would spare them. Despite Orlok's protestations, the Icon agreed and took the surviving elements of the Black hand and molded them into a new set of servants. From here, the Icon forged them a fleet of void ships that could traverse the gulf between universes and then cast them into the vast expanse of the multiverse to search for and prepare other universes for the Icon to feed upon.
The Black Hand excelled at this task, engendering the Psionics and Psychics the Icon used to bring itself to a target universe in massive proportions wherever they went. They worked to attain a critical mass of psions that would allow the Icon to instantly travel to the target universe and consume it, feeding it's never ending hunger for more realities and psyches to add to it's gullet and incomprehensibly vast worldmind. After an amount of time that even the most ancient abstract and cosmic beings of the Prime universe would find to be incomprehensibly vast, the Black hand would discover the Prime Vine universe, which was only starting to cool after it was born in the fires of it's big bang. The Black hand's fleet of void ships quickly sailed through the interuniversal gulf of nothingness, piercing into the nascent cosmic bubble of the newly born universe.
In this young universe, few races were active, and the cosmic and abstract beings that would define the reality were only starting to awaken. Like a virus, the void ships spread out across the universe, settling where the Augers and Diviners of the Black Hand determined that the most important worlds and locations would develop, creating the most major outposts of the organizations of the black hand while other void ships set up colonies all across the nubile universe. The Dark Triad itself parked their command vessels, a trio of enormous saucers as wide as planets, and an enormous artificial world the size of a star, in discrete corners of the Universe. At first, the Dark Triad conducted it's meetings within the confines of their "Black Sphere", their star sized artifical planet that carried a weapon that could destroy entire universes with a destabiliing wave transmitter.
Reports on Black Hand activity in this early stage of the universe are hard to come by, But there are some Eldar and Chozo legends as well as Necrontyr and Luminoth heiroglyphs that spoke of strange Red and Black ships and soldiers who worked for the walking dead during the time of the War in heaven that lasted from not long after the formation of the milky way some twelve billion years ago to about sixty million years before the present.. Eventually, the detatchment stationed around where it was predicted a critical world that would one day be caleld Earth awakened as the Solar system began to form out of cosmic dust and debris. Even before the Earth had cooled, the Black hand had began to settle it. They watched it grow from a few asteroids huddling together into a vast world of seething magma and poisonous skies, and then a quiet land of red air, green seas, and desolate continents.
They set about directing the course of the Earth's evolutionary and geological history. When they determined that to sustain the kind of life they desired the Earth would require significantly more mass and a moon of fair size, Vrakmul used a spell that caused the Mars sized world of Orpheus, which was already developing complex life to crash right into the Earth, which itself was developing some primitive forms of macroscopic life. The impact wiped out both world's populations of life and turned the Earth completely molten in an instant. The triad stood on the earth, utterly unpertrubed by the incomprehensibly large impact that gouged out quintillions of tons of matter into the Earth's orbit while adding sextillions of tons to the Earth's own mass. The ring of rocks around the earth began to coalesce just as the Black hand predicted, into a large moon that would provide the Earth with the system of tides they desired.
As the Earth's Primal gods such as Imasura, Ryujin, Ra, Apep, Gaea, and Tartarus began to develop, the Black Hand organized vast lightning storms that stirred the primordial soup in the world's seas to form the first primitive self replicating amino acids and DNA strands that would develop into life as we know it. Across the universe, they repeated this process, nurturing many worlds to have earth like conditions, perfect for their operations, though they were just fine in virtually any climate thanks to their largely undead nature. Even as the universe shaking war in heaven raged on between the truly ancient races and cosmic powers, the Black hand continued their work.
Even as the first life forms developed eyes and flopped onto the seashore, gasping for breath, the Black Hand watched, erasing their tracks to leave no evidence of their passing for the future civilizations that would develop. Even as the once barren landscape of the earth began to evolve into a vast expanse of greenery, the Black hand was there, watching as the land was conquered by a growing menagerie of life forms. They observed the rise of the dinosaurs, and their fall, each and every event proceeding exactly as according to their ancient and unfathomable plans. Once the war in heaven finally died down with the Necron's victory over the Old Ones and the Enslaver plague, the Black Hand consolidated it's grip over reality, their operations expanding in scope even as a relative era of calm spread across the universe.
The Black Hand on the Earth
On the earth, the hand operated in various forms across the planet's entire history, directing every facet of it, from it's geology down to the evolution of the life upon it. They watched aeons roll by, always manipulating, always controlling. By the time mankind had evolved as per the Black Hand's designs the Cult was very strongly rooted in the earth.
And they continued to manipulate and deceive and control. By the time a lost symaarian ship would deliver the ill fated colonists who would later become the order of the Talon, the Earth was already the Cult's, mind, body, and soul. The proto-order would fight the cult across the years and ages, in the longest, bloodiest war in all of human history.
Ancient Roman Emperors have made note of and created organizations to fight Vrakmul and the Black Hand, recognizing the danger they possessed in addition to the behest of several prominent vampire clans who saw the Cult and it's liches as a threat. In response Vrakmul and his cultists went about agitating wave after wave of barbarians in an attempt to stir up the chaos that they wanted. With the collapse of the western Roman Empire they very nearly succeeded, but the eastern half of the roman empire and the catholic church remained committed to their fight.
In response to the threat that Vrakmul posed; the patriarchs of the christian religion met and reformed...the Order of the Talon; an counter-organization that would fight the Cult in the same shadows that it dwelled in, hidden from the public's eye. But still Vrakmul and his cult ran rampant in much of the former Roman Empire, nearly exterminating the Vampire clans in italy in retribution for centuries of being a thorn in his backside; while the Order of the Talon and the Empire were also enemies of the Vampires; the thought of the Cult running free in western europe and africa did alarm them; prompting Emperor Justinian to launch his campaign to oust the Black Hand.
Vrakmul and the Black Hand then relocated their base of operations to the Arabian Peninsula, where they caused further agitations to weaken the Eastern Roman Empire, and there their power base remained for some time before moving to the holy lands as they fell. The cult's presence in the western world was strong, especially as the Byzantine Empire began to disintegrate. However, the Order of the Talon frustrated Vrakmul's presence in the Catholic World, the Vampire clans managed to rebuild from his near total genocide of their kind, and still he could not lay claim to the Balkans, which he believed to be of great importance to his plans.
When the pope declared a crusade for the holy lands, the order of the talon leapt at the chance to strike at their hated foes in their power base and waged their own sub-war against the cult. The war was brutal and bloody and was waged near constantly within the holy lands ever since. Even the coming of the mongols did not halt this war, nor did the muslim explusion of most of the crusaders. In northern europe the order of the talon lead the way in expelling the cult from the pagan lands by bringing them under the fold of the catholic church. With christianity triumphant, the cult was forced to lay low in europe and the order seemed victorious.
But Vrakmul was a very canny Lich, and when he saw discontent with the Church being formed, he had the cult seize this opportunity and spread the protestant movement, it was a member of the Cult who convinced Henry the Eigth to break with the church in rome, and it was the Cult who spread protestantism in much the same way they supported the earlier split between Orthodox and Catholic churches. Using this opportunity, Vrakmul then allowed the seeds to be planted while the Cult supported the Ottoman Turkish and Venetian destruction of the Byzantine Empire; finally giving them access to the Balkans.
When the inevitable religious wars broke out all over europe, Vrakmul and his cult were quick to spread like wildfire throughout the lands that the Order of the Talon once kept vigil over and many even began to spill into Catholic Lands. The unwitting cooperation of the Mediterannean Vampire clans and the Order of the Talon largely prevented the cult from spreading into Italy or what is now Greece. But with the discovery of the new world, all three factions were quick to spread to it, and there they continued to wage their three way secret war for the dominion of the world while their conflict in the old remained strong as ever.
After the thirty years war effectively destroyed the holy roman empire and eliminated one of the most powerful allies of the Order of the Talon, followed by the great weakening of most of the Italian states; hurting the Mediterranean Syndicate, The Cult was ascendant. However, the Ottoman Empire's crushing defeat at the Battle of Vienna almost completely reversed their fortunes, and Vrakmul's cult was again on the retreat.
But the cult in America decided to form a new factor into the secret war, and thus they fermented the seeds of revolution, which almost completely expelled the Order of the Talon and the Syndicate from America, something they repeated in France, at which point the unknowingly Black Hand backed Napoleon rose to stunning heights and started a bloody series of wars that helped to ferment more chaos and ended up crushing the power of the Catholic Church nearly completely; dealing devastating damage to the order while the Cult made yet another purged of the Italian Vampires as Napoleon stormed Italy. Using the nationalism they had fermented, they started revolutions in the Ottoman Empire as it was clear that remainder of the Syndicate's still vast coffers money would force out the Cult if it did not work quickly.
But the other two were quick to rebuild, and for a long time there was an very uneasy stalemate between these three secret factions. The Cult striking with the Franco-Prussian war, the Order starting the English invasion of South Africa to weed out the strong cult and syndicate presence there; and the syndicate backing the unification of italy and the destruction of the papal states. All three sides largely sat out of the American Civil War and the Crimean War, though individual agents continued their own personal battles.
This all changed when the Black Hand saw the opportunity for ultimate chaos in the form of the powder keg of the Balkans. When Archduke Franz Ferdidand approached, the low ranking and notoriously incompetent cultist Gavrilo Princip managed to kill the Archduke; setting the stage for what can gently be called "the greatest clusterfuck of a century in human history." The three sides erupted into another all out secret war that continues to this day, fighting all over the world backing various powers and manipulating countless people. Even Gods and Aliens have not been exempt from their secret schemes.
The Mediterranean syndicate; which had grown a cover identity as a coalition of european megacorportaions with a distinctly classical bent during the infamous gilded age; was devastated by the wars of Kaligar, Kaiser Wilhelm, and Darkchild in rapid succession while it's African holdings were seized by the Cajun King of Kings and the trinity demolished the monuments to all that is wrong with capitalism that were the sprawls in Afghanistan (though it could be said that this applies to Syndicate sprawls anywhere), leaving it weakened but not quite dead yet. after being given a breather; the Vampire clans, now under the name of the board of classics who stood above the many CEOs and Presidents of the companies, are on the road to recovery, after all; capitalism is a notoriously difficult thing to crush. As of now, it is largely confined to Italy.
The Cult of the Black Hand operates all over the world, but they are strong in the muslim, eastern orthodox, protestant, and oriental world. After Kaiser Wilhelm's forces pulled out of Europe and to their home multiverses, the Cult was quick to seize as much of the extramultiversal technology as it could and has become a shadow power in Germany. While it operates all around the world, it's strongest in Germanic nations and only truly rules Yugoslavia. Additionally, recently, the Black Hand crippled the Talon and took over much of their operations in the holy land, though they do not operate openly in the holy land.
Though much of the world is divided amongst these three shadow powers; most once dismissed talk of a Vampire Cabal leading the mediterranean syndicate; a secret army working for the catholic church, and an horde of fanatics who are behind every bad thing from WW1, to the assassination of JFK, to the post-soviet crisis in Russia, to the 8 hot dogs to 10 buns ratio; as the stuff of insane tabloids. But all three secret superpowers make sure that anyone who does find out the truth and present it in a credible manner rather than just raving in the tabloids; be silenced before his discoveries can go public. Even superheroes have been silenced in such a manner, and heads of state who do so have a bad habit of suffering "accidents."
Even though they are now public knowledge, the Black Hand continues to remain mysterious, with even the best of intelligence agencies only knowing scant little more than what their publics do. Their organization as of yet remains all but uninfiltratable, the followers of the Black hand are so devoted and brain washed that bribery is virtually impossible and someone posing as one of them would be quickly discovered by the fanatical and well equipped organization. In recent times, they crushed the Order of the Talon not long after it split into three, the Talon, the Nox, and the Astartes, and have driven the Mediterranean Syndicate underground.
((Too much text, read on the main account))
The Black Hand's primary domain is in the Balkans, ruling over the entire peninsula, forming a new Eastern Power bloc that stands in a state of outright war or cold war with virtually every other nation in the world. Though they once leveled Chicago and took over the city for a brief time, they appear to have withdrawn from it for unknown reasons, which leads many analysts to expect that they're simply consolidating for a much stronger assault in the future. Though they operate in other parts of the World, their primary domain is in this region.
The Black hand is also extremely strong in Antarctica, where the other nations have overlooked due to the lack of strategic viability. Reports of Black hand bases on the moon are also widely reported. On the subject of their space domains, the Black Hand has operations in virtually every single inhabited planet in the universe and a great many of the uninhabited ones as well. They have had a very long time to set up their dominion over so many locales in the universe. They generally don't outright own a great deal of planets, but instead work in cells based in already existing civilizations.
Black Hand cells and agents are believed to operate in every location and organization of any degree of importance, giving the Black hand a tremendous degree of intelligence on virtually everyone else while even their most avowed enemies know next to nothing about them, which is exactly how the Black hand desires things. They seem to be able to strike out anywhere, against anything, and there does not appear to be much that the universe can do about it. And if anything, it appears that the Black Hand is only growing more powerful as they approach the finalization of their goals.
Leadership and Organization (WIP)
Dark Triad: The Dark Triad is the ruling body of the Black Hand and it's membership has never been altered throughout the entire organization's history. This body consists of Vrakmul DiMarco, Kargoth Trodenstoff, and Nexatos.
The nine subsects: The Black hand is divided into nine subsects that each govern a specific function of the Black Hand, these nine individuals are all titanically powerful and a force to be reckoned with in their own right, shifts in the membership of the Nine are extremely rare. Only through the decision of the Triad may one be elevated to the status of one of the nine, typically to replace one who had already fallen.
Epsilon Order: Psionic Division, lead by Yuri Omega
Shadow Cult: Subterfuge and Assassination, Lead by Ishmael Caliborn
Marked of the Triad: Robotics and Cybernetics, Lead by Vorzhilok the Traumatizer.
Icon's Confessors: Religion leaders of the Black Hand, Lead by ???
Brotherhood of the Scorpion: Frontline Combat organization and recruitment, Lead by Count Bleck
Sorority of the Spider: Frontline combat organization and scouting, Lead by ???
Administratus Nox: Administrative Organization, Lead by ???
Cabal of the Unliving: Political organization, overwhelmingly undead Lead by ???
Legion of the Nightbourne: Magic specialists, Lead by ???
The inner circle: A group of elites and metahumans who have attached themselves to one of the nine subsects. These individuals have proven their power and loyalty to the black hand time and time again and are some of the most fearsome individuals in the universe. Organization is quite loose at this level, leadership decided by a chain of flunkies and who's the lieutenant of whom. Direct lieutenants of the leaders of a subsect are supposedly all equals, but competition in the inner circle remains fierce. Two prominent members of the Inner Circle are Rahn, attached to Yuri, and Raymond Giles, who follows Ishmael's banner.
Rank and file: Operates under normal military rankings, consists of everyone who does not fit into the above categories. Most new recruits into the Black Hand join here until they receive the patronage of a member of the inner circle and are elevated into that lofty rank. The overwhelming majority of the Black Hand remains in this category for obvious reasons, and are generally seen as utterly disposable. Most will live and die without ever leaving the Rank and File, though in official black hand terms they are dubbed the less ominous sounding "Brothers and Sisters of the Hand."
The will of the Triad is absolute, there is no system of checks and balances within the Black Hand, and there is no system needed. The members of the Black Hand are so thoroughly enthralled by it that they no longer care about the loss of personal and political liberties, believing that they are more free as part of the Black Hand than they ever were as independent individuals. This belief leads to almost nonexistent internal dissent within the Black Hand. Almost all problems are directed at the Inner circle or higher ranking members of the Rank and File, rarely are the Nine ever blamed and never is the Dark Triad held at fault.
The members of the Triad, Inner circle, and the Nine are given absolute life and death powers over those beneath them, they require no due process. As such a thing admits that they could possibly be wrong in their judgement over the fates of those below them. Despite this state of affairs, the cries for a more democratic system are completely nonexistent within the Black hand, so strongly hammered is their dogma into the minds of their followers. It seems that most are quite happy to march off to their own dooms should their superiors tell them to. Once again an effect of the heavy brainwashing and indoctrination that new recruits are made to undergo once they join the Cult.
The Rank and file of the cult is organized and ran under a military system, with even children who are born into the Black hand being given a military rank and expected to climb upwards from there. Democracy is largely unknown in the Black Hand, with underlings expected to follow the orders of their superiors absolutely. The judiciary system is simply a system of court martialling There is no legislative branch, the higher ups simply pass ordinances as they see fit, and the executive branch is nothing more than the higher ranking officials in the government. Some would abhor this lack of division of powers, but the Black hand couldn't care less about the ramblings of Enlightenment Era philosophers concerning the natural rights of man.
Each of the sects of the Black hand is largely separate, with minimal authority over one another, but they have a spirit of camaraderie drummed into them by the Icon's Confessors. All of the branches are equals in the eyes of the Dark Triad after all, and so they act as one. That is not to say that the leaders of the subsects do not have personal rivalries with one another. Ishmael's distaste for Vorzhilok is legendary for example, the two of them frequently exchanging insults and trying to one up one another. Most other rivalries are rather lower key in comparison, but few of the Nine are actually friends with one another.
The only rights a member of the Black Hand has are the rights to serve the Icon, and the right to be utilized well by one's superiors. Ideas such as Freedom of Speech, Religion, and Thought are dismissed as heretical by the Cult's teachings. That being said, the Black hand is incredibly eglitarian, it cares not for one's race, gender, or prior creed or ideals, as long as one accepts the ways of the Black hand, they are welcome in open arms. This appeals to many as they can find the equality they lacked in their own societies under the auspices of the all seeing eye, and thus further contributes to the vast number of recruits the Black Hand constantly receives.
The Black Hand is active in giving relief to the disaffected and in setting up Black Hand sympathetic news media due to their firm belief that those who control the media control the minds of the people. With their seeming support for the downtrodden, the Black Hand is wildly popular amongst those who have felt that they have been wronged by society somehow, and attracts these bedraggled people in vast numbers. These people are brought into the Black hand and are rapidly indoctrinated, made to follow the ideology of the Black Hand to the very letter, and they do so gladly, for they believe it brings them closer to their beloved Icon.
The Rank and File of the Black hand fervently believes that the coming of the Icon is in fact a good thing, something that will purify the universe of the wicked and bring relief for the downtrodden. They honestly believe that once the Icon consumes their universe, they will ascend to a higher, perfect state of being, and that all humanity should share in the wondrous gift of rapture within the divine gullet of the beast from beyond the stars. Thus, they see nothing wrong with doing the constant atrocities that their superiors ask of them, thinking that it will help bring them closer to this cosmic nirvana.
They rightfully believe that they must engender a massive number of psychics within the universe to help bring the Icon to their reality faster, hoping that if they can cause the conditions needed to reach that psychic critical mass, the wait to be joined with their divine savior will be over and they will all join the Icon's glorious worldmind, to live forever as part of the composite thoughts of a vast entity that shall last forever. Some may see this belief as utter insanity, but the confessors are very skilled at their work, even if the higher ups of the Black Hand often don't really buy into this.
The highest ranks of the Black hand, those who actually go from universe to universe to repeat this process over and over again, tend to see the Icon as more of a means to an end than a holy figure to heap reverence and veneration upon. They of course, keep this secret from their followers, and put on a face of solidarity under the Black Hand's insane religion even if deep down inside, their cynical hearts truly attach no higher importance to the Icon than something they can use to further their own goals. There may be a few of the Nine who ascribe higher value to the Icon, likely those who align themselves with Nexatos' particular division, but it is unlikely that Kargoth and Vrakmul feel the same.
The Black Hand is antagonistic to virtually every other power in the universe that is not aligned with the Icon to some extent, though they exert a vast amount of control over organizations such as the Islamic Global Liberation Army and many Ork Empires, which they use as Cat's paws to distract potential enemies from their real plans. The Black Hand keeps tabs on the status of all other nations, their deeply entrenched spy networks providing them with vasts amount of up to date, highly detailed, and incredibly accurate information. Largely regarded by the rest of the world as unreasonably hostile in the extreme, being able to negotiate with the Black Hand at all is an incredibly rare event and almost certainly has ulterior motives. Thus, most consider having to work as a Diplomat to the Black Hand as a death sentence, given that turnover rates are nearly one hundred percent. However, most of the world remains either too battered or too afraid to do anything in return to the Black Hand.
They are in a state of Open War with the United States, the United Kingdom , The Ordo Astartes, the Symaarian Imperium as well as the Mediterranean Syndicate, and frequently pay the IGLA to attack Trinity to repel the "Infidels" and agitate Ork Hordes into attacking the Keresh empire. They have as of yet, not committed any overtly hostile actions against the Iberian Empire, Tenebrous, or the Hierarchy, which seems to indicate that they are fine with their current path and have no need of "guiding" them onto another one. The Black Hand has no connection to the United Nations and slaughters any U.N envoys who try to inspect their territories, and destroys any N.A.T.O detatchments that try to enter it's territories.
The Black Hand seems to have extremely hostile relationships with the forces of Chaos. For reasons unknown, the forces of the Warp and those of the Icon have been violently opposed to one another, with Black hand and Chaos Space Marine engagements being bloody and barbaric, with even less quarter than usual being given or taken as the two maddened religions duke it out over often trivial goals. Whether this is due to an outstanding issue between the two powers' benefactors or because of irreconcilable dogmatic differences is as of yet, unknown. All that is known is that the two insane cults cannot and will not tolerate each other existing on their territory.
Technology, Magic, Psionics etc
The Black Hand's research division is incredibly advanced, offered limitless resources to pursue any goal that the higher ranking members of the organization wish or allow them to pursue their own projects. This has resulted in an incredibly advanced arsenal of technology backed up with an amazing scientific base. Their magic program is similarly well developed, with the finest magical academies to be found anywhere, where one can be tutored by one of the ancient liches or mummies who has been part of the Black hand since the beginning or by any number of other ancient sorcerers and wizards who have been with the Black Hand long enough to be brought into a teaching position.
The Black Hand's psionic program is probably one of it's most developed, where Psionics are brought in or created, and trained to reach their maximum potential and enhanced to allow them to better serve the Icon. Due to the role of Psions in bringing the Icon closer to a universe to be devoured, the Black Hand funnels a truly enormous amount of resources into their psionics division, and lauds them heavily, treating with an incredible degree of respect that most others simply do not receive in the Black Hand, but once again, the dogma of the Black Hand causes this hypocrisy to be overlooked within the organization.
Dark Glass (WIP)
No discussion about the Black hand is complete without mentioning the fuel for it's engine, and the poisoner of the Earth, Dark glass, or as it is scientifically called, Serbium. An alien substance from another universe, Dark Glass is perhaps the most sinister of the Black Hand's legacies. Whole worlds, once verdant and aflush with life, are now blasted hellscapes, in which only hideously malformed beasts survive, living in a twisted parody of their former ecosystem as monstrous caricatures of what they once were. It is a seemingly crystalline radioactive, mutagenic, self reproducing and highly mutagenic substance that is incredibly dense in energy, and has a unique structure that makes it particularly suitable to a special nanofabrication process that rearranges subatomic particles to create virtually anything. It's energy rich nature makes it perfect as a fuel, pure Dark Glass is the single best energy source to exist on the planet earth, far surpassing anti-matter, Uranium 235, and Helium 3, which means that despite it's horrific nature, it is something of a boon and economists are already foreseeing a future economy that will rely on Dark Glass as heavily as the modern era relies on computers.
It also has a deadly effect on the environment and all carbon-based life. Within the span of five years it has completely altered the Yugoslavian landscape, transforming and adapting flora and fauna to its alien nature. Spores and gases emitted by Dark Glass-mutated plant life has led to former Yugoslavia being uninhabitable for most humans as the concentration of Dark Glass pollutants in the air reached critical levels. Many theories exist on what Dark Glass really is. Some, such as Doctor Mobius, a noted physicist believed that Dark Glass itself is a lifeform rather than a mineral. This hypothesis seems to be based on early forms of Dark Glass, which originally occurred as seemingly organic, plant-like pods. One fanciful hypothesis is that Dark Glass possesses consciousness. According to this idea, the crystal contains a quantum crystalline brain that grows more intelligent as it grows and grows. However, this has yet to be proven.
Exposure to Dark Glass is dangerous to all carbon-based lifeforms, including humans. A human may be poisoned by contact with Dark Glass crystals, for instances while handling crystals or walking through areas with high Dark Glass concentration unprotected, as well as from breathing fumes produced by crystals or fine Dark Glass particles present in the air. The effect of Tiberium on humans is still not yet fully understood. Common symptoms of Dark Glass poisoning includes breathing difficulties, suppressed immune system and Tiberium crystal growth on the skin. Long-term low-level exposure to Tiberium causes illness in all terrestrial lifeforms. Victims of this form of exposure (very common among civilian populations in many partially contaiminated areas) suffers gradual decline over many months or years before finally dying due to organ failure.
Exposure to any high-concentration of Dark Glass will almost guarantee death within a matter of minutes by Dark Glass poisoning. If a human comes into direct contact with Dark Glass, the green matter will start to fuse with their skin within about 20 seconds. An intense burning sensation will be felt. If this is not treated, a full infection will soon manifest. The body will soon begin to crystallize, and the victim will die from total system failure. Breathing in Dark Glass particles can be just as deadly. The crystal will become embedded in the lungs, which will slowly crystallize before assimilating the rest of the body, leaving nothing but a vaguely humanoid mound of crystal to attest to what was once a man.
Dark Glass poisoning does not always kills its victims. Often, the affected human will instead mutate. Short-term exposure to very high concentration of Tiberium can transform a human into a monstrous creature known as a Visceroid. These amoeboid lifeforms feed on Tiberium and are known to attack and devour humans. More common are incidents of humans and animalsadapting to Tiberium and becoming Dark Glass mutants or "Glassies." These mutations are subtle and gradual (but very quick in evolutionary terms).Dark Glass humans or mutants are characterised by the growth of Dark Glass crystals on their body, enhanced strength or senses, development of various superpowers resistance and eventual immunity to Dark Glass poisoning even the ability to regenerate their cells in the presence of Dark Glass. Thus, the Black Hand has a special program that involves low level, gradual dark glass infusion to produce supersoldiers.
Dark Glass infused Mutants are shunned by humanity at large, to an even greater extent than genetic mutants. Firstly because of fears that their own poison will spread to others, and secondly because their mutations are typically quite visible, such as the odd protrusion of Dark Glass crystals here and there, or unnaturally glowing eyes, or an impossible palidness to one's skin, or perhaps tripping off every geiger counter within the vicinity. Secondly because it is human nature to shun that which is different. Family members of "Glassies" also tend to spurn them, though they try to do so in a more gentle manner, avoiding them if at all possible, subtly dropping hints that they are no longer welcome as part of their family.
Thus "Glassies" typically leave civilized society, heading to live in Dark Glass contaminated areas, where most people would never dare to tread for fear of becoming like them. Here they either die out in the wilderness or they join tribes, living amongst others like them, living embittered lives on the scraps of the society that rejected them. Dark Glass poisoning is most severe in the Congo rainforest, where it has run wild following Warsman's devastation of the region, former Yugoslavia, Columbia, and the western third of Kazakhstan. Minor elements of Dark Glass can be found elsewhere, but are typically only present in the first world when brought in for study.
The Balkans, Land of the Black Dawn
At the core of the Black Hand's holdings on Earth is Sarajevo, a blasted hellscape devoid of most carbon based life due to extreme Dark Glass poisoning. Vast glaciers of the radioactive material push their way through the green hellscape while rivers of molten material flow through, iluminating a lightless wasteland where constant thunderstorms rage in the sky without end. No other power has much influence in former Yugoslavia as there is simply no way anyone else can use it. The land is completely inhospitable to Carbon Based life, simply breathing the air will result in a horribly painful death if one is lucky as the miniscule shards of Dark Glass and it's vapor enter one's body, rapidly attacking their structure, converting them into more Dark Glass until they finally die. The population of humans here have been infused with Dark Glass, everyone else who hasn't is long dead, and the endless corpses that are spread over the land attest to that, their mouths agape is silent horror, their crystalline bodies still vividly attesting to the horror of their demises.
The land is littered with the corpses of those who tried and failed to attack the Black Hand in it's home turf, and most horrifically, most show no signs of being killed in battle, having instead succumbed to the blasted hellscape that the country has been turned into. Metahumans, strike teams, black ops, demons, armies, and so many others lie across the landscape, their bodies forever enshrined in cocoons of Dark Glass, a grim monument to the fortress the Black Hand has created. An overpowering sense of despair fills the land, likely magically erected by the cabals of liches that run the Black Hand, just to drive home the sheer hopelessness of the task that faces any invaders of Black Hand territory.
It has gained the title "Land of the Black Dawn" as the sun has not been seen since the area was declared inhospitable for humans two years ago. It is instead forever hidden behind dark storm clouds that constantly rage as the particles of dark glass in the air rub against each other. The only natural light there is to be had is the eerie glow of the Dark Glass and the constant strikes of thunder and lightning. But that is not to say that the land is devoid of life. Nothing could be farther from the truth, it is a land filled with monsters. The animals who once lived here have become horrible mutants, dogs becoming horse sized creatures who can tear apart tanks, bears into ferocious killers that would give most street level metahumans pause, fish into nightmarish leviathans that seemed to have crawled straight out of H.P Lovecraft's nightmares.
The zoo animals that once lived in former Yugoslavia, Romania, Hungary, and Bulgariawere released and allowed to mutate and breed, resulting in all sorts of horrible abominations that dot the landscape, further attesting to the death of what is natural in the area. And despite that this sore on the Earth causes the Primal Gods and those connected to Nature no end of grief, most of the world seems unwilling to try and reclaim the area for carbon based life, being more content to try and cordon it off, as their greed has lead them to believe that allowing the Dark Glass to remain is far more beneficial than trying to remove it. Besides, what was Yugoslavia but a land of constantly squabbling racists who committed genocide upon one another every other year? They reasoned, it was no loss to them, Yugoslavia was not part of the E.U or N.A.T.O, it was a trouble region that the United Nations was considering giving up on anyway. They were more than happy to let it die so they could profit off of the green crystal.
The natives of Yugoslavia are fervent supporters of the Black Hand, one and all. They have embraced the crystal that has turned their homeland into an alien landscape. They are so far gone off into the pit of madness that they actively attack any superheroes who try to do what their governments won't and clean up the place. Thus, most superheroes have given up on trying to reclaim the country, the people clearly don't even want to be free from it. They go as far as to worship Dark Glass, proclaiming it to be a holy scion of the Icon, and that fighting to stop it's spread is an offense to their terrible deity. They have accepted their destroyer as their one and only saviour, and it seems that no force can get them to reject the poison they have welcomed into their hearts. The entirety of the Balkan peninsula is in this state,
The Temple Prime
At the heart of Black Hand Operations is Sarajevo, where Vrakmul's agents started World War One with a single bullet to the Archduke Franz Ferdinand's head. The old city has been demolished to make way for a mammoth complex, an edifice of Black and Red that stands tall and strong as a testament to the might of the Black Hand. The husks of those who have tried to force their way into the Temple Prime litter the landscape, contributing to the further growth of Dark Glass with their corpses. But recently, the Black Hand has began allowing visitors into the Temple Prime, perhaps as a way of showing the world the true might of the Black Hand, that it is so unafraid of the rest of the world that it will allow them at it's doorstep and see it's power. Or perhaps this is merely a distraction from it's true goal? The temple Prime is built around a colossal dark Glass monolith, said to be the point where Dark Glass first made contact with the Earth and began it's insidious spread.
The Temple Prime itself is an awe inspiring enough structure when viewed above ground, but it stretches far into the Earth, a vast underground city containing virtually everything imaginable. Visitors are never allowed below ground in the area without an escort. Whatever goes down there remains rather clandestine, and speculation abounds as to just what is kept down there, with all sorts of theories being proposed, from secret doomsday weapon research, to a portal to the icon, to hidden plans, to just your average series of things a government does not want to be seen by the outside world. Whatever the case, it's more or less off limits for outsiders, and given the power the Black hand wields, those who bend the Black Hand's trust are unlikely to live for much longer.
Visitors will immediately notice that the interior of the buildings is almost exclusively red in colour. The Black Hand has never once provided an answer as to why this is so, and none of the Rank and File seem to have any idea either. They seem to just go along with what they are told and don't ask questions. Guards are posted at all corners, and the Dark Triad's meeting Room is never visitable under any circumstances, even when the Triad's meetings are not in session. Again, it is not known why this would be so, but the best guess is that the meeting room holds symbolic power, and to allow others to violate it would be sacrosanct.
A large population of "Glassies" live outside the Temple Prime, dwelling in a somewhat bizarre parody of a suburb with black and red houses stretching outwards despite the hellscape around them. A semblance of a normal life is given to these mutants, which has engendered their loyalty towards the Black Hand, which welcomed them even as other societies rejected them. Thus, the "Glassies" are some of the most fervent supporters and most ready recruits for the Black hand in the world, they often don't even need to be brain washed or indoctrinated, so grateful are they towards the Black Hand which provides them with normal, comfortable lives with such modern comforts such as internet, television, electricity, a ready access to food, and bun and hot dug ratios that actually match.
Spatial Temporal Quakes
Due to the excessive amounts of Icon Force being emitted from the portals to the Icon within the base, at Random intervals the laws of physics will get extremely wonky to say the least. These Spatial-temporal quakes can last anywhere from just a second to several days. During this time, events such as being shunted forwards and backwards anywhere from a few nanoseconds to entire days in time, being randomly teleported within the boundaries of the Temple Prime Complex, things from entirely different time periods or very far away in the universe appearing in the middle of the base, Gravity suddenly changing directions or strength, other universes briefly becoming visible, shapes that are flat out impossible forming in thin air, and visible distortions in the fabric of reality become visible.
People with power over space or time will find their powers enhanced during these spatial-temporal quakes, being fed with an outpouring of raw power, and magic users generally feel uncomfortable as the distortions in reality play havoc with the cosmos. Those with neither of these generally are confused the hell out while the denizens of the Temple Prime have a laugh at their expense, having already gotten used to the random freak distortions in reality and being prepared for them. The interior of the Temple Prime itself has much more intense spatial-temporal quakes due to it's even greater concentration of Icon-force, but the Triad and the Circle of Nine members never seem to be bothered, the others however, just have to get used to the chair they were sitting on suddenly turning into a duck.
- No destroying anything without my consent
- You don't have to sell the Black Guard, but be reasonable etc. For example, a street leveler is going to be screwed over by an Avatar walker and one shotted by an Obelisk of light. So if an Obelisk fires at you, you better have a good plan up your sleeve or else your street leveler is going to be a pile of ashes.
- The Temple compound's restricted areas e.g The meeting room or underground, cannot be entered without my (IC or OOC) permission, violators will be ignored unless they want their characters to fight their way through the Black Hand.
- If you want to do anything involving the Black Hand outside of this thread then ask first.
- No godmodding
- No invading the Hand's airspace unless you want a fight
- If you start a ruckus in here, don't expect to get off scott free.
- Much of this is a WIP and will be added onto as time goes on.
- If your character can't reach through the Dark Glass fields on their own, then you can say they were given an access pass into the Black Hand's Temple Prime that allows them to use their transporters.
- You can try to convince the civilians that the Black hand is bad, but remember, it won't work, they're heavily brainwashed, you'd need a very powerful psychic to undo the process.
- While the Black Hand isn't meant to be a team, I suppose you can join if you want to. Creating characters to fill in the as of yet unknown members of the Nine would be most welcome.
- I will announce when a spacetime quake begins and when it ends.