Group Dynamics

Posted: 12th January 2013 by Jeff Bouley / Deacon Blue in Ruminations

Been a while since my last fiction post, but wanted you all to know I’m starting on the next chapter of “The Gathering Storm” and have a ton of ideas for various one-off stories. In the meantime, realizing I also haven’t posted anything for the “Ruminations” category around here for a while, let me talk a bit about groups.

Super-powered groups.

There are really only three stable teams of heroic transhumans in the United States, which have been alluded to at various times though not yet seen or named. Eventually, the Whethermen will be formed (at some point near the end of “The Gathering Storm”), bringing that total to four. One could argue that the Guardian Corps is a viable fifth for the title of team, but really, much like the Guardian Angels of our world and street gangs (to which the structure of the Guardian Angels very much resembles), I’d call it more of a tribe with a mission. When I think of super-teams, I’m thinking something with some foundation of decent resources and an ability to respond on demand to a crisis. The Guardian Corps is more about being a place where (mostly) young transhumans can learn to use their powers and kick ass without getting in trouble for it. The Guardian Corps patrols neighborhoods looking for trouble and often picking off the low-lying fruit when it comes to crime, whereas a true super-team is trying to take down bigger operations and be on call for the authorities and various organizations and individuals who might call on their aid.

You won’t ever see many of those in my Whethermen universe. Some teams will form and fairly quickly dissolve, much like many small businesses, as they begin with a dream and then fracture under the stresses of day-to-day operations. Part of that is not realizing how much it costs (time-wise, money-wise and otherwise) and not being able to sustain things. But the other part is the psyche of transhumans, which makes them not play together all that well most of the time.

You’ll see duos fairly often, maybe even trios that get together to patrol, but rarely will you see a bunch of heroes being able to sustain an amicable, productive team environment for very long.

Yet you will see a decent number of villain or mercenary teams as time goes on in my stories, that stay together with minimal member changes.


Simple: Money.

Mercenaries charge for their services; villains commit crimes. Heroes find it hard to generate income. So, much like rock bands stick together long after all the members realize they hate each other because they want to keep bringing in the money that they combined skills generate, so too will mercs and bad guys. There will still be a tendency for things not to last but the stability of such teams will tend to be greater because of the payoff and thus there will always be more villain teams than there will be hero teams.

Maybe it’s reflective of a basically cynical attitude toward humanity, but in my defense, transhumans also don’t behave like much of the rest of us do, so if they’re a little more messed-up at times, there’s a reason of sort. Also, it’s my artistic license to ensure that heroes always have more to deal with than they really can deal with.