Membership: Adept, Blackthorne, Marathon, Radian, Snapdragon, Vyking, Scaredycat, Scatterbrain, Toxyn, Backhand, Brava, Hardcase, Shear, Silencer, Wildcard, Revenge, Scanner, Burn, Lifter, the Fourth Generation, Macintire Kenlin (died in the Garden before powers activated), Carol Rayweick (died in the Garden before powers activated)
Purpose: To defend Earth against the Horde
Affiliations: Commander Nion, Dr.Tuolema, Commander Yuri Pogorelich
Enemies: The Horde, the VXX-199, Ghost, Tiger, Wind
Base of Operations: Strikeforce: Morituri's Mag-Lev Train, constantly travelling across the continental U.S.A.
First Appearance: Strikeforce: Morituri #1 (Marvel Comics)
History: In 2069 an alien race called the Horde arrived in Earth's solar system. They were technologically advanced far beyond humanity's capabilities, but also extremely savage, and they viewed the Earth as a resource to be plundered. If the Horde had wanted to completely conquer mankind, then they would easily have done so. Instead, the contented themselves with brutal raids at their whim, leaving the Earth functioning but reeling under the impact. The Padeia Institute which ruled the planet began to organise the defence of the Earth against these attacks.
Mankind's best hope was discovered in 2072, when Dr.Tuolema, a scientist working at Bio-War Facility Alpha perfected the "Morituri Process". This allowed people with a specific type of rare genetic structure to have a new metabolism implanted over their original one, granting them superhuman powers unique to each individual. However, as became clear with the first group of test subjects, the host would eventually reject the implant as a foreign body, resulting in an inevitable and violent death, occurring randomly any time between the completion of the process and a year later.
The first group of subjects were the soldiers of the Black Watch - of the five members, two died before seeing active service, at the point of activation of their powers. The remaining three had their first field test in Cape Town, taking on Horde forces there; though they were successful in battle, none of them survived. Tuolema later deduced that the older the subject, the quicker their system would reject the process, and the decision was taken that all subsequent Morituri recipients were to be between 18 and 21 to maximise life expectancy.
All new Morituri candidates started the process with a process which enhanced strength and endurance, making it easier for them to live through the rest of the treatment, designed to grant individual powers. After completing both stages, the volunteers would be placed in the Garden, a booby-trapped test facility designed to heighten stress levels and precipitate the emergence of each candidate's powers. In 2073 the first of the new Strikeforce: Morituri entered active service.
As was to be expected, the Morituri saw many deaths in their ranks during the war, sometimes from enemy action, but mainly from the Morituri effect, the term given to the body's rejection of the process. In spite of membership being a death sentence, the threat of the Horde meant that there was never a shortage of volunteers willing to give up their lives in the defence of mankind. Right from the start, the Morituri showed a propensity for disobeying orders in order to grasp opportunities to attack the enemy; knowing their time was short, they resented being kept out of action for any length of time.
It was the fourth generation of Morituri who saw a real change to the process. In fact, there were two sets of fourth generations. One was created without the input of Tuolema, with disastrous results, and the victims chose suicide over life in the twisted bodies they ended up with. But one of Tuolema's fourth generation of Morituri proved to be the group's salvation; Revenge, who had been a captive of the Horde prior to becoming a Morituri, carried a virus which eventually proved to be the counteragent which stopped rejection. When this was discovered, the surviving Morituri regained a chance to live a full lifespan (too late for the first and second, and all but one of the third generation).
The Morituri consisted of Revenge, Scanner, Brava, Burn and Lifter when the war was unexpectedly brought to a close. A new race of aliens, dubbed the VXX199, entered Earth orbit, destroyed the Horde fleet, and then departed without explanation. For the first time in several years, mankind was no longer at war. Not everyone on Earth was happy about this though...
Deputy Prime Minister Andre Lamont had been part of a conspiracy of industrialists who had deliberately prolonged the fight against the Horde to maximise their personal profits. With the war now ended, Lamont decided it was time for promotion; he had Tuolema perform the Morituri process on a trio of killers, intending to assassinate his superior and the surviving members of the Strikeforce, then discredit the former soldiers by blaming them for the Prime Minister's murder. Though Brava was killed as planned, two of the assassins quit when they learned the cure they had been given was untested and might not work. The third killed the Prime Minister, but was slain by the remaining Morituri. As for Lamont, he discovered that the VXX-199 had replaced his bodyguards with genetic constructs, who forced him to confess all.
Several years later the VXX-199 showed their hand. They were waiting behind the moon, slowly modifying mankind's culture to their requirements, planning to induce spontaneous combustions in the population and then harness the psychic energies released. The four remaining Morituri learned of this, thanks to some bizarre allies (including the sentient A.I. Will), and travelled to the VXX-199's base, where they destroyed it's CPU, ending this second alien threat...for the time being at least.
Comments: Created by Carl Potts.
Thanks to Enrique Acosta for images and information.
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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