ACTION FORCE: PROLOGUE
Story by Justin Bell & Bobby Vala
Art by Justice Naim & Colors by Andrew Cramer
Armageddon came not with a blast, but with an angry wound, a ragged gash through the flesh of the nation, unhealed, left to infection and rot until the wound became fatal. In the years following there were disagreements about whether it was a single wound or several small cuts. Regardless, the nation was just as damaged, just as injured and just as separated.
It was a war that wasn’t supposed to happen. A conflict that America was too advanced to succumb to yet again, yet a conflict that happened again regardless. Region against region, state against state, brother against brother, the conflict ripped America apart, burned it to the ground, and out of the ashes the New Colonia rose.
Those in political power fought back, struggling to maintain control of a union on a rampage intent on destroying itself. Forcing martial law into place, the only thing the government succeeded in was giving the various sides a single enemy to fight—and fight they did, turning on the federal government and forcing them from power.
With a nation ablaze in the fires of revolution, salvaging the states’ powers came at a cost—the dissolution of federal powers and the resumption of independent state-run governments.
This seismic shift in the balance of power within America threatened to topple the nation, to push it over the edge, send it screaming into fiery rebellion, forever drowned in a bitter, violent war within its own borders.
Adding to the turmoil was the quake of 2028 which whipped out more than half of California. The country was tearing itself apart as it neared a revolution but was now too weak to come together for those who needed aide. Was this all an elaborate plan to divide and then weaken, allowing a new power to rise from the ashes? Who was pulling the strings? What was known was that a new force had arrived.
They seemed to appear out of nowhere, strategic and purposeful, a small army of the technologically advanced hybrid operatives situated throughout the former continental United States. They appeared so suddenly and were so well-prepared, the hushed whispers began, wondering if American’s second Civil War was natural or engineered by some secret conglomerate, a conglomerate now deploying their own personal army across the country.
Smaller revolts were quickly squashed and the SWARM’s technical supremacy overwhelmed the scattered, local forces. But it soon became evident that their continued presence would come at a cost, and that cost was steep.
The states and groups who could afford it, did, and those who didn’t soon fell under the shadows of the others, desperate to hold their own against the increasing army embedded throughout what was once the United States of America. Slowly, but effectively, the SWARM spread throughout much of the country, sewing division and discontent, creating a hierarchy of the haves and the have-nots, a sort of caste system of those states and regions who could afford their services and those who could not.
Resentment began to form and boil, slowly warming throughout the smaller states and regions. Several of those states banded together to form larger republics, republics with a common interest and a common goal – freedom from the oppression of those states with SWARM operatives at their borders.
Skirmishes broke out, at first isolated pockets of sudden violence. Tame at first, but swiftly escalating until some of the larger states joined with their own makeshift republics, combining their forces and their resources, pooling their armies of SWARM into an over-arching army threatening to crush the rest of the nation under its heel.
New Colonia formed from this agreement, a larger republic, a swath of the former United States who now controlled many smaller pockets of SWARM, bringing them together into a national strike force, an overseeing eye keeping vigil. Enforcing peace.
A peace that felt like anything but.
At first, it appeared as though New Colonia themselves was coming apart at the seams. Pockets of violence erupted, terrorists ripping apart the fragile fabric of peace. Former Army Colonel Reginald Mathis, now known as Kerak, took it upon himself to fight back, putting together a ramshackle militia—taking safety and security into their own hands. Enforcing law and order within the borders of New Colonia when the SWARM couldn’t be everywhere at once.
Bringing together a cadre of highly trained and ruthless soldiers, a group calling itself The Garrison, Kerak’s team suddenly was looked upon as the tip of the New Colonia spear, a team of hardcore military operatives willing to cut corners and sidestep regulation to bring peace to New Colonia.
While there were scattered skirmishes with the SWARM, it soon became evident that Kerak and The Garrison were the face of defense of this new nation-state, the human side of their military machine. While the SWARM was an army-for-hire, Kerak and The Garrison were loyal and faithful to what New Colonia stood for. This occasionally puts them at odds with the SWARM, but by and large they work alongside them, though Kerak has his own agenda.
Watching the dissolution of America, and witnessing the evisceration of the modern military as he knew it, Kerak’s goal was to make things right—to single-handedly shine the spotlight on soldiers once again, and to prove that they are the backbone of security and safety in the modern world, even if some innocents must pay the price for those beliefs. Kerak and his Garrison established themselves as the pre-eminent military machine in New Colonia, not a simple army-for-hire, but boots-on-the-ground defenders of freedom, doing whatever it takes to return to the glory of what New Colonia represents.
Although not officially recognized by the makeshift government of New Colonia, it’s accepted that Kerak and The Garrison have their tacit approval to strike in New Colonia’s name. Sometimes, however, the deeds are too dirty even for Kerak and his group to tackle them.
That’s when he calls in The Bone Collector. An independent operator and survivalist, The Bone Collector almost seems as though he was waiting for the end of the world, and now that America stands on the brink of self-destruction, he has emerged as a force unto himself. Striking in the dark, taking no prisoners, shooting first and asking questions later, The Bone Collector is the jagged blade of justice, the wet-work weapon wielded at the hand of New Colonia.
Slowly, emerging from the shadows, these new threats are working in concert to break the backs of the smaller nations, to lead New Colonia down the path of victory.
Not everyone took this lying down. Resistance formed in various places throughout the nation, small groups coming together to form militia movements, swearing to battle back against their larger oppressors. Before long it was New Colonia at the top of the political food chain, looking down upon all others, controlling trade, even going as far as to enforce curfew for the smaller states’ “own good”. One step away from Martial Law, the smaller states could no longer stand back and let New Colonia call the shots. In a nation ripped apart by war, an alliance was formed.
This alliance converged in secret, hidden away from the all-seeing eyes of the SWARM, coming together to form a top-secret strike team. With assistance from their international allies, nations across the globe threatened by the overtly violent rule of New Colonia. A team was formed.
An Action Force.