The United States Special Detachment is a secret branch of the United States government featured in the web series The Last Stage.
The Detachment was founded in the aftermath of the 1906 Sans Francisco earthquake, which, contrary to what the news outlets reported, was hardly a natural disaster. In reality, the earthquake was caused by a dimensional rift opening near San Francisco Bay where hundred of indescribable creatures poured out into our world. The National Guard and U.S. Army were both overwhelmed when they arrived to quell the "demon's" rampage. It was around this time that a secret society called The Masons entered the city to assist the military. Originally formed before the Revolutionary War to protect America from threats such as these, the Masons were undoubtedly more prepared for the situation and single handily closed off the rift in the Bay and destroyed the remaining monsters. Since then, the Special Detachment has made seeking out, containing, eliminating and researching paranormal entities and substances its main priority to protect citizens of the United States and all other nations of the world.
In the year 1936, the Detachment gained another valuable component when a European organization known as The Archive reached out to them in hopes of escaping the looming shadow of fascist regimes. Much like the Detachment, the Archive was also concerned with containing unnatural objects in order to understand how they function and how to utilize them against other paranormal entities. The Detachment went overseas in the midst of the Second World War on the behest of The Archive to prevent their collection from getting into the wrong hands. Since that time period, the Detachment and the Archive have worked closely together to ensure global safety. Although the Archive is technically an independent network of scientists from the United States government, its relationship with the United States Special Detachment has remained amicable and cooperative over the years.
The Archive is a secure facility located on the border of Nebraska and Kansas that works alongside the Detachment in order to contain and catalog indestructible and/or potentially useful paranormal specimens. The less dangerous entities in their custody are usually studied for their potential utility in defeating more dangerous paranormal activity. Sapient creatures that are not hostile nor overtly dangerous are not classified as specimens and are treated as tentative "allies" or "advisors". The Archive has three ways of classifying the paranormal:
- Biotic Anomaly: Any specimen that is sapient, can directly influence its own movement in space, and is hostile or unreasonably dangerous towards humans.
- Non-Euclidian Object: Any specimen that is neither sapient, cannot directly influence its own movement in space, or both, and is hostile or unreasonably dangerous towards humans.
- Technology: Any specimen that is neither sapient, nor can directly influence its own movement in space, or both, and isn't hostile or unreasonably dangerous towards humans.
The Department of Operations
The Department of Operations is dedicated to the neutralization of paranormal threats to ensure the safety of average citizens. Detachment operatives work in three person cells, which are paired with another cell to make a six person team. Each cell is linked to a letter of the English and Greek alphabets, and there are generally three to six versions of each given cell (for example, there is a Cell H Alpha, Cell H Beta, and Cell H Gamma). The only exceptions are Cells A, B, C, and Z, which only have one version (Alpha) and sometimes contain more than three members. However, none of these cells engage in the field or have meet with all of the members of their cells. Agents receive receive code-names based on the letter of the Cell they are assigned to. The protagonists of The Last Stage are code-named Patrick, Parker, and Phillps (Cell P) and Quinn, Quick, Quincy, and Quade (Cell Q).
Members of the Department of Operations typically act as mobile task forces and are not allowed to interact with operatives from cells that are associated with a different Greek letter than their own. The only person who is exempt from this rule is Cell A Alpha's Adam, the operative who wrote the U.S.S.D. Operative's Field Guide.
Important cells include:
- Cell A: Members of Cell A are the direct supervisors of the organization. They are the ones who read files, assign operations, and make personnel recommendations about operatives. They are vital resources of information and are the most direct link to the organization proper that ordinary U.S.S.D. members have.
- Cell B: A cell compromised of an unknown amount of operatives, as well as support staff who are only vaguely aware of the existence of an undercover military/government organization. They are responsible for the dissemination of information to operatives when they are not on duty. They handle the delivery of physical packages such as the U.S.S.D. operative field guide and the transference of electronic information.
- Cell C: A cell composed of an unknown number of politicians, business or military personnel, or common individuals. They are aware of the existence of other cells, but only know members of Cell A, even if it is just by codename. They are an oversight committee that prevents Cell A from abusing their power for their own self interest and makes sure that members of Cell A do not become compromised due to outside influence.
- Cell Z: A cell dedicated to the elimination of compromised operatives. Cell Z does not engage in field activity outside of eliminating other Detachment agents who have decided to oppose the U.S.S.D, have been compromised, or pose threat of a catastrophic leak in security. They are sometimes paired with the remaining members of a cell whose former comrades have gone on the run after betraying the organization.
- Allen: Primarily responsible for disseminating information about upcoming operatives. He is also an available source of information for agents who are having difficulties with their investigation in the field.
- Andrew: Primarily responsible for personnel information regarding both Detachment operatives and civilians. He is also responsible for logistics and the application of additional force when deemed necessary.
- Andrea: Primarily responsible for giving field agents information and suggestions regarding the containment of specimens and the use of paranormal objects. She is also the U.S.S.D.'s current liaison to the Archive.
The following is an abridged list of the most notable powerful entities that have yet to be detained by the U.S.S.D. Many of them have demonstrated the ability and willingness to harm mankind for their own respective reasons.
- Subject JABBERWOCK is a tall, gaunt humanoid with long extremities and an apparent lack of a face. Its attitude towards human beings differs greatly on a case by case basis, ranging from complete indifference to protectiveness to outright disgust and a strong desire to violently murder certain individuals. Its presence causes harmful psychotropic effects on the human psyche, including paranoia, delusions and hallucinations. Signs of Subject JABBERWOCK involvement include child abductions and areas with dense forests.
- Subject AZRAEL is a being with shapechanging properties that commonly takes the form of a young man in his twenties or thirties wearing a gas mask. Its motivations are speculated to be the complete destruction or enslavement of humanity for its own benefit. It is capable of possessing humans and teleportation, and controls its own extra-dimensional location where it is nearly omnipotent. The Detachment's last encounter with Subject AZRAEL ended in its apparent demise, though it has yet to confirm if its truly deceased or not.
- Subject INCUBUS is a hunched, lithe, completely nude humanoid with canine or ursine features and an unhealthy emaciated physique. It has hollow eyes devoid of pupils and one of its arms possesses extremely pronounced bio-mechanical claws, which it uses to dismember its prey while they sleep. It appears to be primarily concerned with satisfying its hunger by consuming humans and might be a member of an entire species of otherworldly origin due to how widespread reported encounters with this mysterious creature are. It is also an intelligent hunter with an incredible amount of skill at infiltrating homes without being detected. Signs of Subject INCUBUS involvement include unusual cases of home invasion, widespread complaints of sleep paralysis, and unexplained cases of homicide, suicide or abductions that lack any substantial leads.
- Subject STALKER is either a bodiless entity that possesses others or a paranormal infection. Regardless of which possibility is true, Subject STALKER will alter a human's mouth so it will extend past the face in a permanent and contorted smile filled with sharp teeth. It will then manipulate them into targeting someone else whom it will inevitably abduct for unknown purposes. It is nigh-indestructible and will always reappear until it successfully captures its prey. It also possesses an unusually powerful bite that can amputate limbs. Signs of Subject STALKER involvement include shut-ins, reports of a strange man or woman stalking people from a distance and an abundance of flowers delivered to its current prey before it kidnaps them. Subject STALKER was responsible for the death of the sister of Agent Quincy, who joined the U.S.S.D. for the sole purpose of hunting down and permanently killing it in order to protect his niece from a similar fate.
- Subject IMP is the name given to a species of extradimensional, insect-like creatures. IMPs appear to be members of an expansive empire that aims to conquer other realities by enslaving their native inhabitants. Their main target at the moment is Earth, which they frequently visit to perform experiments on humans so they can determine their abilities and weaknesses. IMPs also seem to uniformly worship of a foreign deity, as evidenced by the sites of ceremonial worship they have built. Their individual appearances vary greatly, though a common trait they all share is an unusual marking that resembles an upside-down smiley face. IMPs are fairly capable combatants that fight from a distance and have the ability to engage in bio-warfare. Signs of Subject IMP involvement include widespread disease and life-threatening human experimentation.
The following is an abridged list of the most notable objects owned by the Detachment.
- The first printing press of American newspaper publisher W.R. Hearst. It is capable of producing documents that can be "coded" to a person's DNA, making it so only they can read it. The information contained within these files changes whenever someone not coded to it attempts to read it, and sometimes cause harmful psychological effects to the reader such as paranoia and psycho-somatic hallucinations. The Detachment uses the printing press to manufacture most of their official reports, documents, and operative field guides.
- A guitar that once belonged to the legendary Mississippi Delta bluesman Robert Johnson. When played, the guitar summons a dark figure in a hooded cloak that grants the wishes of the musician for unknown prices. Said entity, may be the crossroads demon that supposedly gave Johnson success in exchange for his soul.
- A comb that belonged to the Roman Empress Agrippina the Younger. Anyone who uses it will be subjected to an unbearable amount of physical pain, causing the user to suffer a psychological break. In certain cases the comb has even caused people to turn into sadists who will eventually murder their own loved ones.
- The shotgun American author Ernest Hemingway used to commit suicide. Any person who enters a three mile radius of the shotgun experiences an overwhelming compulsion to take their own life. It appears to have an infinite supply of ammunition as evidenced by the fact that it has never run out of shotgun shells.
- A spear used by Ashoka the Great, an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty. Its paranormal abilities are activated by pointing the tip at a person of with the intention to kill. It viciously destroys the first 100,000 people in the direction it's pointed to and will then absorb its wielder. The fate of the wielder is unknown.
- A deck of French playing cards owned by former fire captain and arson investigator John Orr, who was later discovered to be a serial arsonist that caused various fires in Los Angeles throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Shuffling the deck produces a large fire somewhere in the world through mysterious circumstances.
- A paintbrush formerly owned by Louis Wain, an English artist who was best known for his drawings of anthropomorphized large-eyed cats and suffered from schizophrenia during the later years of his life. In 2015 it came into the possession of independent artist Casey Wolfe, who seemed to be making paintings of her own surreal hallucinations as well before she went into a coma. The paranormal properties of the paintbrush have yet to be determined, but it is believed to be either capable of creating a portal to another dimension that creatures can use to enter into our world or bringing artwork to life. Depending on which hypothesis is accurate, The Abstract Concept of Hate (a monster connected to the Wolfes) is either a former resident of an alternate dimension that slipped into our universe or a painting that was given life via magic.