Dennis Detwiller

Duds, Talents and Propaganda

In Gaming on July 22, 2011 at 6:17 am

The Paukenschlag Plot

On January 1, 1942, during the Atlantic Charter meeting in Washington D.C., a German Talent agent insinuated himself onto the grounds of the White House, in an attempt to assassinate President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and various other members of the newly minted United Nations.

Luckily, two British Talents, Lloyd “Bulldog” Feit and Emil “The Shade” Broaden were present when the German agent attempted to bypass a security checkpoint with his power. Parahumanly disguised as a U.S. Army Captain, the German Talent was easily visible to the British Talents, who attempted to subdue him. Grabbing the German as he activated a large bomb in a valise, the Shade dragged the Nazi and the bomb out of phase with the physical world. When the weapon exploded silently at ten minutes to seven, only the German agent and The Shade were killed—The Shade’s power rendered the blast harmless to those in the normal “physical” world.

This audacious attack on the leaders of the free world led to an increase in Talent security for VIP’s. Churchill had been traveling with his security detail of Talents for more than six months at the time of the attack, and President Roosevelt was under the protection of the British Talent Bulldog since the Placentia Bay conference of the previous August, but suddenly, the Allies found themselves in a much more dangerous situation than before. Talents were now required at the front lines, to fend off enemy Talent attacks, and on the home front to root out and destroy enemy Talent spies, saboteurs and agents… The President turned to S2 to solve the problem…

Duds” and Talent Security

Shortly after the January 1st bomb-attack, American S2 scientists documented their first “dud” Talent. PFC Titus Macay, U.S. Army, possessed the Talent ability to change any slop of Army food into a home cooked chicken fried steak—and that’s all. More and more of these “duds”—Talents with powers that were of questionable utility in warfare—began to appear as the war wore on, and S2 realized their value in the months following the bomb attack.

Despite their odd and limited abilities, like all Talents, “duds” were able to detect and cancel the powers of other Talents. In fact, “duds” were usually particularly powerful when it came to the cancellation power, and were able to negate even the most powerful Talent attack leveled against them. Employed as security forces for VIPs and secure areas, “duds” would provide a perfect defense, while freeing up the more powerful, offensive Talents for frontline service.

By late 1942, a large percentage of American and British “duds” were “rotated home” and conscripted into home front defense forces, to prevent an attack like the Paukenschlag plot from happening again.

S2 Propaganda

In January 1942, S2, through the Department of the Army, began an unprecedented campaign of propaganda to convince the American population that not only had a large number of Talents manifested in America following Lawrence Moreland’s appearance, but also that such manifestations were growing more and more common every day.

In truth, only 72 American Talents had manifested at that time—but Professor Talbot, now director of S2, struck upon the idea of “tricking” the American public into manifesting. Talbot had watched the British and German Talent population skyrocket as the conflict in Europe heated up, and worried that America, at war but without an ongoing “front” would be left behind. Since belief and morale seemed to be the key to the Talent phenomenon, Talbot hoped to target those traits with a campaign of faked manifestations, aimed to encourage patriotic Americans with a predisposition towards paranormal ability to manifest Talents themselves.

It seemed to work. America caught up with the British Talent population by late 1942. By 1943, nearly 1,000 American Talents existed, with manifestations occurring at home and abroad on a daily basis.

Project TATTLETALE

In the winter of 1942 at the direct request of the President, a public campaign was begun to tap “the growing number of unknown Talents in the U.S. population” as a useful commodity. The poster series depicted a smiling man with no eyes, with the legend “Got a strange feeling about someone? They could be an enemy Talent!” and was designed to elicit a three fold effect: The detection of enemy Talents, greater public awareness to the possibility of enemy Talent attack, and the discovery of previously undetected American Talents.

The snafus evident in such a program were enormous. In 1943 for example, nearly two thousand reports of “enemy Talents” were made in New York City in the month of December alone! In the end, more often than not, the project led to disastrous public relations messes, but it did count some successes. Between 1942 and 1945 for example, over 300 American Talents were discovered because of the posters. Usually these “spontaneous detections” were a nightmare—with finger pointing, name-calling and accusations—but more often than not, both parties were loyal U.S. citizens who happened to “sense” each other’s power, consciously using their fledgling Talent ability for the first time.

S2 G-6

This division, jointly shared by the Department of the Army and S2, was formed initially in the winter of 1942, to facilitate the production and dissemination of Allied Talent propaganda in the United States. At first, the group assembled for the project was under orders only to produce propaganda for Project TATTLETALE, but later was given official sanction to remain in operation.

This group, based in the Pentagon was composed of Army Intelligence officers and a hodge-podge of psychologists, artists and creative types in the employ of S2, who began to subtly feed the Allied population of the world propaganda. At first, this propaganda was limited to posters, pamphlets and radio spots, but by 1944, included short films, stage shows and even a Walt Disney cartoon.

At the end of the war, S2 G-6 had 2,300 employees (about half of whom were Army Intelligence), and owned an entire printing facility in Gaston, Texas, employing some of the most famous artists in the world, including Salvador Dali, Norman Rockwell, and Sgt. George Baker, the producer of the famous Sad Sack cartoon that appeared monthly in Yank magazine.

The Talent Operations Command

In March 1942, Roosevelt stepped in to end the squabbling that began when he transferred Lawrence Moreland, America’s first Talent, to the Department of the Army from the Navy. The two organizations were in an uproar, each hoping to gain command over the Talent. Despite his love of the Navy and Moreland’s rank in the Navy, Roosevelt felt that Moreland (or more specifically his abilities) fell under the auspices of the Department of the Army. After some deliberation, and with a final statement on the matter—“I don’t want to hear any more about which Talent goes where. Don’t you have a war to fight?”—Roosevelt formed the Talent Operations Command, an organization comprised of the leadership of all the American armed forces.

This group was to assemble an up to the minute listing of every known American Talent and assign them to various branches of the armed services. Voting committees consisting of members of the Army, Navy, Army Air Corps and Marines considered each American Talent’s file on a case-by-case basis, voting on where and in which organization their power would produce the most beneficial effects. For the most part, the TOC did what Roosevelt hoped, it removed the infighting and squabbling often found surrounding a novel approach to warfare. Such manipulations and struggles were left to the TOC committees, and only the TOC committees, to decide.

In 1943, with an expanded budget, an “Assessment division” of S2 was moved into the TOC headquarters, housed in the newly completed Pentagon. This division was tasked with estimating the impact of Talents in combat, based on their S2 and TOC files alone.

The Eisenhower Plan

In February 1942, General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed the head of the U.S. Army General War Plans Division. It fell to him to decide just what the Army would do with its growing population of Talents, and after a draft of the so-called “Eisenhower Plan” was given to the President, it was settled, Talents would train, and be deployed separately from normal troops.

Called the Talent Operation Groups, or TOG, these small 12-man commando team composed solely of U.S. Army Talents would infiltrate enemy territory ahead of the main fighting force, and detect, disrupt or destroy enemy Talent forces.

In the coming years Section Two would work closely with the TOG, developing a rigorous training program devised to unlock the hidden power of all Talents by bolstering self-image, morale and esprit de corps.

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