The Alon are easily my favorite thing about the HF universe. Perhaps because, as the storyteller, I'm the one in control of them, or because the very idea of them interests me. In reality, it's probably a combination of many things, but there's nothing I love more than to talk about them.
To me, the Alon are not only a very interesting subject of conversation, but the most terrifying thing imaginable for the gifted, and therefore, the players. The Alon are not only a constant antagonist for them, but a deadly effective one at that. In addition, they're not considered to be the bad guys by society at large (of course, that depends on what point in the time-line you're looking at). Probably worst of all; the Alon are successful. Their presence has not only persisted, but dominated since the days of HFN all the way down to 109 with little wavering.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. I think I'll start with how the Alon began...
It all began with one man named John Marcus Alon. John had a fantasy of striking it rich easily and quickly and living out the rest of his life in luxury. That fantasy was just that until the day that John met a scientist down on his luck. The scientist, named Willard Hamm (who's name is arguably more infamous to my players than the Alon, but we'll get into that some other time) had had his funding on his life's work cut. After the two brilliant men got to talking, John's fantasy became a very real possibility. You see, John wasn't evil, but he was cunning and charismatic. Joined with the mind of Hamm, he was able to launch his dream into reality.
The first thing he did was find five other influential and able people (but not intelligent, mind you). He gathered them all and ranked them with numbered titles, himself being One, Hamm being Two and so on. Using the titles as aliases, the seven started a mass recruitment. They called themselves the Revolution and brought on hundreds of thousands of weak-minded and lost teenagers. Seven (as they called themselves) told these masses that they were forming a revolutionary army to overthrow the corrupt and sinful governments of the galaxy.
The Revolution, at its core, was little more than a mix of a pyramid scheme and a cult wearing the face of an unstoppable army. The recruits would forfeit everything they own upon joining and would then be brainwashed by Hamm into thinking that they had undergone intense training for three years. They were then split up and assigned different positions under each of Seven. These 'teams' had specific jobs and duties within the Revolution. The most blunt of their activities involved raiding portions of planets for their resources and even resorting to pirating. Some of the money all these endeavors was divided amongst Seven and spent on furthering the Revolution's technology and supplies. Most of it however, went straight into John's pocket.
During the main duration of the Revolution's existence, John was living peacefully in luxury far away from his army.
It was during one of the Revolution's mining raids that HFN became involved in a classic case of 'wrong time, wrong place'. When HFN became aware of the Revolution's 'goals', they took it upon themselves to stop the army. Considering the extreme lack of skill and competency within the Revolution, HFN was able to carve their way to each of John's generals and one-by-one take them out. When John's income started rapidly drying up, he naturally investigated. What he discovered shook him to the core.
Being a greedy and unscrupulous, but not an evil man, John saw a group of horrible and unstoppable monsters cutting through hundreds and thousands of lives like butter. He then looked at the rest of Seven and saw that they had become monsters as well, and worst of all, Hamm seemed to be creating these demons.
Wrought with fear and rage, John acted quickly. He immediately cut all ties to the Revolution. He sold off the entirety of his luxuries and all of the shoddy Revolution equipment, ships, and weapons as he could and went into hiding.
When the smoke cleared, the Revolution was no more.
Over the course of the next several years, John began recruiting a real - if small - army. He used every ounce of money he had leftover from the Revolution to outfit his rag-tag group with proper equipment and training. Then, when he was ready, he struck.
John's return took HFN by surprise, launching a second war. Unfortunately, it still wasn't enough and HFN emerged victorious, finally killing John once and for all.
But of course, that isn't the end. The remainder of his army (still calling themselves the Revolution) broke away from a military standpoint and went into a political movement. They moved slowly, but surely. It started with protest groups, raising awareness of the gifted (and coining the term ' cursed'). Over years, they gained support and finances on dozens of planets, constantly growing. They eventually had the money and resources to begin 'rehabilitation clinics' in which they took willing gifted in to scientifically and psychologically purge them of their gifts. These clinics weren't always successful, but they did work half of the time. During this process, the Revolution kept logs and information on the various gifts and abilities they saw.
Of course, the Revolution wasn't the only group working against the gifted. Less-reputable and chaotic gifted didn't do their kind any favors. Whether for personal gain, acts of revenge, good deeds gone awry, or simply unable to control their powers, more and more people began to see the gifted through the Revolution's eyes: as cursed monsters and demons - walking time bombs waiting to go off. Eventually, the Revolution gained enough pull to form law-enforcement-type groups on many planets. These groups started as peacekeepers, but rapidly evolved into forcing unwilling gifted to undergo 'treatment'. Of course, they were met with resistance.
Then, the inevitable finally happened. A group of Revolution peacekeepers got into a fight with a particularly unlucky gifted. The fight rocketed out of control, leaving hundreds of innocents killed. It was the last straw. The Revolution took the opportunity to finally come forward with the history of their group and it's founder. They changed their name to the Alon in honor of him and plead to the governments of the galaxy to allow them to take up a military stance against the gifted.
Almost all of these governments agreed.
What followed amounts to little more than genocide. The Alon used the information that they had gathered on the gifted to create weaponry specially designed to combat the intense and unbelievable powers of the gifted. The Alon continued to allow willing gifted to receive treatment - a truly traumatic experience for many - the unwilling were hunted down and either forced to undergo treatment and testing, or more commonly, killed.
The gifted fought a hopeless battle. They were unorganized, with conflicting goals and motivations, while the Alon were organized and united under a single cause. The more the gifted fought, the worse the battle became as more and more innocent people took side with the Alon with each bloody clash. The Alon continued to gain support, money, resources, and knowledge about the gifted, making them an unstoppable and unrelenting force.
The Alon have never stopped their hunt.
To me, what makes the Alon so scary is the fact that they are successful. They hunt down and find gifted. They cure those who can be cured and those that can't are killed or worse. The Alon's technology allows a dozen soldiers to stand toe-to-toe against a gifted who could easily slaughter a hundred men with a snap of a finger. The Alon are a very real and very dangerous threat to the gifted, and almost idolized by everybody else.
There is so much to say about the Alon, but this post has gone on long enough. I'll pick up again some other day. Thanks for reading.