CLAW

CLAW

Team Designation: CLAW

Threat Level: Alpha
[Hunted Value: 20] [Contact Cost: 9]

Expanded Membership Details:

The Iron Claw (600 points) (Leader)

Grappler (350 points)

Cat Scratch Fever (350 points)

Traceur (350 points)

 

Major Adversaries:

Many enemies worldwide, including SANCTION, the Sentinels, and most world governments

Base of Operations:

Worldwide

 

Membership
The Iron Claw (Leader)
Grappler
Cat Scratch Fever
Traceur
Background
"They've got their claws into everything. Everything!"--last words of Interpol agent Sandeep Tilak

The story of CLAW begins in the mid-1920s, when the name Iron Claw first began to be whispered by stoolies trying to escape from under the thumbs of the police officers holding them. Iron Claw, they said, was a masked man, a criminal mastermind. Some said he was associated with the Mafia. Others said that he had connections in the Tong. He was rumored to have taken out Angelo Genna on behalf of Alphonse Capone. One rumor said that he had seized control of the Zheng Tong from "Fat" Lu Zheng. Another report, laughed off by agents of the Bureau of Investigation, even suggested that he was the grandson of Professor Moriarty.

Whatever his origins, the Iron Claw became a feared underworld figure. He often took steps to work alongside existing crime organizations, and in some cases, as with the Zheng Tong, seized control of them if their leadership proved too weak. A gifted athlete, the Iron Claw was respected for his skill in fencing and various martial arts, and he crossed blades more than once with the heroes of the day, such as Derek Gunn and the masked Mr. Mystery. His "Iron Claw" name came from the fact that his left hand was apparently missing, replaced by a metallic, clawed version.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the Iron Claw increased his power and influence, earning favors from some criminals, taking over the operations of others. His influence spread beyond the underworld, too. Politicians and captains of industry fell under his influence. What once had been a handful of agents and thugs under his influence became a legion of crime. Often, they were identified only by their affiliation. But some of those in his employ began to wear masks in honor of him, or to wear scarves or sashes emblazened with stylized claws in his honor.

World War II brought even greater influence for the Iron Claw's organization. He used the diversion of the war to build his own power, and in the wake of the war found his organization in control of many lost or abandoned treasures--precious works of art looted by the Nazis; serums and death rays and war machines developed by mad scientists; and even hidden bunkers filled with caches of gold and jewels.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Iron Claw, still fit and robust (enough that others believed either that he was an uberhuman or that he was actually a successor to the earlier crimelord of that name), turned his legions of crime into a more formal organization called CLAW. Some said it stood for "Comprehensive Logistics and Analysis Worldwide," others that it stood for "Criminal Logistics and Agents Worldwide." But in either case, CLAW was a worldwide criminal conspiracy, both engaging in criminal activities of its own and hiring out agents and expert consultants to other criminals.

These decades and the early 1970s were banner years for CLAW. It had dozens of hidden bases--called "aeries"--scattered around the world. One was hidden in a cloud, another beneath the North Pole. One was a disguised skyscraper that actually had the capability of launching itself into space. There was a base hidden deep under the towers of the Brazilian National Congress in Brasilia; a base that more or less encompassed the town of Bucksnort, Tennessee; a base on the floor of Hudson Bay. CLAW agents streamed through the sky and fought superheroes, UN troops, and other criminals. CLAW agents had a certain popularity then--they seemed in many ways to be interesting and exotic and somehow harmless, though law enforcement and criminal insiders knew better.

Things turned darker for CLAW in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It had expanded its influence in the drug trade decades earlier, but by 1978, its found itself in territorial battles with other drug lords, as well as supervillains. In 1982, the Iron Claw was apparently assassinated by his own son, who called himself Steel Claw. The latter seized control of CLAW and ruled it much more ruthlessly than his father had. The paranoid Steel Claw slaughtered more than a third of his own organization within his first year in charge, losing nearly as many more to desertion and poorly considered attacks on rivals, including Evol Khan and several Columbian drug lords. In early 1984, a series of attacks by the newly formed SANCTION diminished CLAW's resources even further.

For the most part, CLAW went underground. Where once it settled issues with a squad of agents armed with blasters, it began to operate more through quiet assassinations, blackmail, and heavy payoffs to people in authority. It murdered several superheroes, as well as their families. It became associated less with daring robberies and mad science and more with drug pushers, pornographers, and blackmailers. No one found CLAW exotic and harmless anymore.

In 1995, the Iron Claw, long thought dead, returned, backed up by a number of CLAW stalwarts who had left under Steel Claw's reign. The two factions fought a brutal two-year war that spilled over into battles on at least six continents. At the end, the Iron Claw emerged victorious, his usurper son dead. He began to rebuild CLAW, once more firmly under his control. His vision for CLAW's future was a synthesis of its strengths: an emphasis on science and experimentation, increased focus on using--and even creating--uberhumans, a worldwide presence, licensing of its agents and expertise to key players, and significant activity behind the scenes in order to strengthen its secret control of much of the world.

The years since the Iron Claw's return have been strong ones for CLAW. It has gained incredible influence in the world and possesses a highly trained army as a result. The emphasis on technological growth means that CLAW agents have access to a wide range of technological weapons, while the emphasis on uberhumans has resulted in a large number of supervillains--called "talons" within CLAW parlance--available for hire and to support the goals of CLAW . These include solo mercenaries such as Traceur, Cat Scratch Fever, and Grappler, all trained to work with other ubers as well as in support of CLAW agents, as well as more integrated teams such as the cat-themed Roar; the teen team-in-training called Generation CLAW; and CLAW Force-1, a beta-level threat in and of itself.
Area of Operations
CLAW maintains bases of agents, also called aeries, around the world. They range in size from small cells of half a dozen agents all the way up to organizations of thousands.
Goals
The goals of CLAW vary somewhat from aerie to aerie. Like franchises, many are self-sufficient and sometimes have goals that don't directly coincide. This is a natural side effect of a structure intended to allow growth and to make prosecution of high-level members difficult.
Reputation
CLAW's reputation has varied over the years as its background suggests. In modern times, it has shaken off some of its taint. Teenagers commonly sport CLAW-themed T-shirts or tattoos. The organization has made a conscious effort to appear chic. This serves both as a recruitment tool and as a way of deflecting dangerous associations. In truth, as most law enforcement organizations are keenly aware, it is a ruthless criminal organization more powerful than most world governments.

CLAW has access to high-tech vehicles and weaponry, and its agents are frequently very well-equipped.