The Combine are the boogeymen most Magical and Supernatural beings have grown to fear. The name of the establishment in the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Due to their powers and interests, some people have discovered hints and clues pointing to an international conspiracy that is the cause behind much of the seeming lack of sense in world affairs. The Gifted have found indications that this organization has done its best to keep the populace ignorant and entertained through bland mass media programs, while it continues to exploit it.
It is extremely secret. Most of its agents are dupes who know little about who or what they are working for. Its power is mostly, perhaps exclusively, mundane. So far, nobody with paranormal powers has been identified as working for the Combine. Although rumors persist that the Combine is establishing training camps to raise a new breed of Seer agents and soldiers.
It can wield enormous influence, often in subtle ways. On many occasions, when someone has gotten too close to the Combine, strange things have started to happen to her. Her electrical power gets shut off, her credit cards get canceled, or she is accused of a crime or sued by somebody she has never heard of. The number and intensity of the problems rise in proportion to how close the person has gotten to learning something important about the organization or its activities.
They are not afraid to use lethal force to keep the secret. Those who press on despite the difficulties, or who use magic or other powers to circumvent them, eventually are visited by teams of unsmiling men in black suits who proceeded to murder or attempt to murder them. Many have had to leave their homes, forge a new identity, and live in hiding to avoid being entirely destroyed by the Combine.
Few know how the Combine started, however those who do know it started with a meeting between Intelligence agents for the US, UK, Russia, and China. They met to compare notes on magical and supernatural threats. Not to share what they knew, but to find out what the others knew. All of this happened during the ‘cold war’, so this is arguably the youngest of all organizations that are part of the Secret Wars.
What these agents found out though, is that everyone agreed magical and supernatural threats were real. They also realized this was a worldwide issue and a failure to work together gave these ‘things’ a place to hide. So after much fuss the various agents came up with a plan of cooperation even during conflict on matters of the magical or supernatural.
This has grown as the original agents developed their networks and gained more power. The advent of interconnecting the world and governments spying on their own people has only strengthened the tools these people have to play with. If they cannot handle a situation directly subverting someone with the power or authority they need is simple enough. Much like the Hellfire Club they have realized those in power tend to abuse it and knowing their secrets is an easy way of getting them to do what you want. CEOs, Lawyers, Judges, and Politicians don’t have to belong to their group to do their bidding. On top of this they have ties to every major criminal organization in the world.
With access to advanced technology they were the first to augment their agents attempting to make ‘super soldiers’ who could go toe to toe with any magical or supernatural threat they would face.
While most of their agents and secondaries know nothing of the core beliefs of the group as a whole and probably don’t even know who they are working for. However the ultimate goal of the group is to eliminate magical and supernatural threats by any means necessary.
The assassins and troubleshooters of the Combine are recruited from the militaries and the intelligence communities of the world. They are selected for their willingness to follow orders, to kill without hesitation, and to keep their mouths shut. It is rumored that some of these agents are conditioned with drugs and hypnotic therapy to further enhance their abilities. This brainwashing induces an inability to tell the truth about their employers. A conditioned agent will lie very convincingly, and will not be able to reveal the truth even if subjected to torture. Apparently, the block is so strong that even Seers have not been able to pierce it with their telepathic abilities.
The agents in charge are known as the ‘Directors’. Many in fact are real directors of agencies like the the US CIA, Russian SVR, UK SIS/MI6, or Chinese MSS. Groups which formed the heart of the original conspirators. However their influence dominates most branches of the Intelligence community for these nations, and a few that were added later like India, Israel, Japan, etc. Few Intelligence agencies lack connections to this group and most have agents that work more for the Combine then their nation. This has only continued to grow since their origins.
They have hints at many of the hidden organizations of the world, but the only direct contact they have had so far was with the Opus Dei. The Vatican has refused ties with them and they have had direct engagements with members of the Opus Dei or Vatican security whenever they have tried to push things there. A few of their members also belong to The Hellfire Club, but any who do have to hide it very well as the Combine doesn’t share personnel with other organizations kindly.
Skills and Abilities and Common Professions
Their ranks are full of trained soldiers and intelligence agents spanning the globe. Because of this Intelligence or military training is not only common it’s the only way to ‘get in’. Since they lack magic or supernatural powers they make heavy use of advanced technology. Often having access to the most cutting edge tech available. For this reason most of their agents are genetically or mechanically enhanced and those lacking direct enhancement typically use powered armor.