Humans have only recently discovered they are not the only sentient life on Earth. Supernatural beings have made themselves known and are trying to integrate into human society, but humanity is less than eager to let them in. An agent sent to capture monsters begins to question her goals when she's forced to see both her targets and her employer in a new light.
Humans have discovered they are not the only sentient life on Earth. Other beings have lived alongside them throughout time, forced to hide in the shadows for thousands of years. But they are tired of hiding.
The beings, known colloquially as simply “monsters”, are unlike any other life form on the planet. They do not seem to obey many previously established laws of life. They are not a single species, or even a collection of species, but each a unique individual; they can have wildly different sizes, body plans, diets, colors and patterns, integument, abilities, and more. Even among blood relatives, Mendelian genetics don’t appear to apply - offspring often share some traits with their parents, but not always, and new traits appear spontaneously more often than not. Many possess abilities as of yet unexplainable by science, including telepathy, phase shifting, invisibility, energy manipulation, and more - these monsters are a minority, but far from uncommon.
As varied as the monsters’ physical forms are, so too are their minds. For every sentient monster capable of human-like thought, there is another more akin to animal intelligence and behavior. Some are even believed to be capable of thought far beyond human comprehension. Like any group of people, they have an endless range of personalities, opinions, and motives. Some remain fearful of humans; others are eager to join their society, others are resentful toward them, and still more have no strong opinions at all. And that, paired with their often superhuman physical strength and supernatural abilities, leads to varying levels of danger.
Humanity’s readiness for this discovery was greatly overestimated, and their reaction to it less than ideal. Some parts of the world are more accepting than others; most secular nations offer monsters some degree of legal recognition and rights, while religious states and fascist regimes often ostracize or outright persecute them. Regardless of their official status on paper, monsters are almost unanimously vilified and distrusted by society at large, as humans are wont to do to things they don’t understand. But there are always those people compassionate enough to treat them as equals (and even a handful of religious sects and cults who believe them to be superior to humans).
In reality, the existence of monsters was not a secret to everyone. Secret agencies and societies around the world studied them for decades or centuries. The Order of the Open Eye (also known as The Open Eye Society or simply The Open Eyes) was one such group, so called for their ability and willingness to see things that others would not. It was formed in the early 1800s as a secret club for those interested in the occult and mysticism to study and discuss their hobby without prejudice from their peers. As their numbers grew, their research became so thorough and successful that they on multiple occasions acquired for study both remains and living specimens of creatures that would later be classified as monsters. Confident they would be ridiculed by the scientific community, they kept their discoveries to themselves, even publishing scientific journals and distributing them only to their own members.
Toward the end of the century, with many politicians and military men being active members, the US Government took notice of the Order’s activities behind the scenes. These members had always fed information to government officials who were open to hearing it, but now the government was actively reaching out to the Order for information. By the end of WWI the Order was an official consultant of the US military and officially dissolved on paper in 1916 to maintain secrecy. However, the Order continued its operations and recruiting new members as though nothing had changed. They proceeded to work with the both Naval Consultant Board and National Research Council during WWI, the Office of Scientific Research and Development and Office of Strategic Services in WWII, and the CIA and ARPA/DARPA in the years following. Government cooperation brought government funding, and by the 1970s, the Order had its own state of the art, top secret research facilities guarded by military personnel.
In the early 21st century, monsters began toeing the line of secrecy with the developed world; reports of sightings and encounters increased, and civilian curiosity piqued. Once monsters made themselves officially known, the Open Eyes seized the opportunity and founded the non-profit Department for the Investigation of Supernatural Entities (DISE). While nothing more than a public face for their supposedly disbanded secret society, the new name gave the air of indisputable authority. The tactic was so successful that many civilians mistakenly believe DISE is a branch of the US government.
Now that the Order is able to exist in the public eye, they are able to secure more funding and expand their operations. According to their PR campaigns, they have two goals: to study monster biology in order to smooth their transition into American society, and to reduce violence and promote coexistence between humans and monsters. They are open about using their findings for medical research, purportedly to benefit both sides.
What the public doesn’t know is that DISE also operates multiple underground facilities nation-wide. These facilities bely the altruistic philanthropist image they project in the media by committing atrocities against monster and human alike. The Order’s descent deeper and deeper into obscurity had skewed the group’s motives and morals; under current Director Robert Hayworth and his predecessor Charles Green, it is little more than a government-sanctioned scientific cult.
On top of recruiting already like-minded adults, DISE often abducts lost, homeless, or runaway children or pose as hopeful would-be parents at adoption agencies and orphanages. They prefer children under the age of seven but sometimes accept those as old as twelve. These children are then raised in small, isolated, DISE-owned towns, where they’re raised by DISE agents and their families. They are not only trained to be future DISE researchers or agents, but brainwashed into believing that monsters are an inherent threat both to national security and humanity as a whole. They are taught that monsters are unintelligent beasts helpless to resist their own instincts, deceitful manipulators hellbent on luring humans to their own downfall, and above all else, trying to usurp humanity’s reign over the world in order to either enslave or eradicate them.
DISE agents are sent to work alongside police and FBI agents to investigate violent incidents between monsters and humans. In minor cases, they do just that, and any involved parties go through the relevant legal systems as with any other matter. In more serious cases, however, they turn more insidious. If the human is at fault, they often spin or outright fabricate the story to the human acting in self-defense; if the monster is at fault, they quietly launch an all-out covert manhunt to find and capture them and anyone who may have aided them. There is even a division of agents, as well as hired bands of mercenaries, specifically tasked with hunting down individual monsters before an incident occurs, or abducting those of particular scientific interest. Interestingly enough, most monster prisons are also owned or funded by DISE under various other names.
All of these monsters are brought - dead or alive - to the secret underground facilities located directly under the recruitment towns. There they are kept in small, sterile cells and subjected to countless inhumane experiments until they either succumb to the effects of the experiments, are euthanized for further study or preservation, or are forcibly put down when they try to escape or become a threat to agents and researchers. The experiments include inflicting various wounds to test healing capabilities, forced breeding to study genetics, chemical and radiation exposure, the psychological effects of various stress levels, and seemingly innocuous tests of physical strength and supernatural abilities.
The results first get published in DISE research journals to inform agents, trainees, and civilian members how to combat, apprehend, and defend against attacking monsters of all varieties. Edited versions of the papers are then distributed to the military and highest ranking government officials. At this point, any members who belong to other anti-monster groups not directly affiliated with DISE are permitted to discreetly feed some of the information to pre-selected individuals of said groups. Finally, the government passes select bits of information from the papers through the grapevine until they reach police departments, and shortly after inevitably become common knowledge that can be easily exploited by most anyone.
Recently, DISE has been testing an experimental new program called the Monster-Agent Facilitation Program, or the MA Program for short. MA teams are comprised of one DISE agent or scientist and one monster test subject, matched based on their strengths and weaknesses and sent out to find, study, and/or capture assigned monster targets. The goal is for the monster to act as a sort of coerced K-9 unit and for the agent to use the monster’s abilities against its own kind, with threat of corporal punishment or death for them or loved ones if they don’t comply. A number of MA teams have been deployed with mixed success. About 40% of teams remain consistently operational; 30% result in the agent killing the monster, intentionally or unintentionally; 15% result in the monster being killed by the target or other parties, human or monster; 8% result in the agent returning the monster to DISE or asking to be removed from the program. Only in 4% of MA teams do the monsters kill their human handlers. The remaining 3% of teams go missing entirely.
DISE is keenly aware of rumors of both monster and human organizations plotting to shut them down, sometimes through official channels, other times by force. They investigate all tips and whispers without impunity. Most are in fact merely rumors. The few genuine conspiracies have been tiny, ill-thought-out, and rarely make it off the ground. There are no known threats of leaks, outside intervention, or attacks at this time.
A highly trained and exceptionally talented DISE field operative selected for the MA program. Anti-monster rhetoric deeply ingrained alongside the skills she learned, but it can't undo her compassionate nature. Matched to a monster who's not afraid to stand up to her, she begins to see things in a new light.
The monster paired with Nina in the MA program. A long-time captive of DISE and subjected to unspeakable horrors while there, he is resentful and mistrusting of humans. But he gradually learns to see the kindness in her and manages to show her that he and his kind are not the threat to humanity they've been painted to be.
Current director of DISE. Largely responsible for the ethical violations committed in the name of research, after inheriting the program from the previous director. Believes in human superiority above all else, and that monsters were put on the Earth to benefit humanity and nothing more.
RATING: 18+ - 5676 words
Thomas takes some alone time to decompress, but Lockwood tracks him down
to scold him.
Characters/Ships: Thomas Noriyama/Lockwood
Black Tie Affair
RATING: PG - 1753 words
Nina and Zeph have a mission requiring formal attire. Zeph is less than impressed,
until Nina is ready to leave.
Characters/Ships: Zephran/Nina Esposito
RATING: PG - 2473 words
Nina begins to question everything she's believed in up to this point.
Characters/Ships: Nina Esposito, Zephran
Tags: Brief mentions of torture
RATING: 18+ - 3506 words
The longer you wait, the harder it is to keep the tension from snapping.
Characters/Ships: Nina Esposito/Zephran
Tags: Sex, allusions to violence
Stoke the Fire
RATING: PG13 - 1950 words
Thomas notices Lockwood has stepped away from the group and follows to find out
[NON-CANON: This was an early idea for Thomas and Lockwood's first "confession"
that has since been retconned.]
Characters/Ships: Lockwood/Thomas Noriyama
Tags: Heated makeout, marijuana use