Group Name: Morlocks
Location: Sewers of major cities with primary hub in New York
Mutant Abilities: Wide range of abilities that differ from individual to individual, but all Morlocks have in common a certain deformation caused by their powers that makes it impossible to conceal what they are difficult if not impossible to live a normal life on the surface.
Members: Callisto, Healer (leader and founder), Marrow, Sunder, Skids, Masque, Caliban, Feral, Thornn, Erg, Plague, Berserker, and hundreds (sometimes thousands) more in various cells throughout major cities of the world.
History: Born out of a mix of tragedy and necessity, the Morlocks are one of the most notorius and controversial mutant groups to emerge during the growth of the human/mutant conflict. They take their name from the famous underground dwelling species of H.G. Wells's classic novel "The Time Machine." They set themselves apart from the rest of society, human and mutant alike, but making a home within the sewers of major cities. The most well-known of these socities reside in New York. It is here where the general structure of the Morlocks was born and it is from this model that all other Morlock socities are built around.
The beginnings of Morlock society have their roots during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. During this time, widespread protests and civil unrest were calling for racial equality in the Western world. At first, mutants were part of this unrest. Before then the mutant population was scarce and scattered, often relegated to small ghettoes or traveling sideshows. There was no united to mutant society because by and large they were and always had been very rare, never exceeding numbers in the thousands. Yet during the early and middle 20th century, the mutant population exploded and mutants began to find their way into the public consciousness. It seemed only natural that they would join other minorities in their desire for equal rights.
However, the Civil Rights movement was fragile even amongst it's champions. Many were wary about allowing mutants to be part of their struggle. The problem was that mutants were still very poorly understood and seeking their approval by society may be asking for too much. This caused a major schism and while other minorities gained rights, mutants were left behind and soon became the new target of bigotry. This drove the increasing mutant population further into ghettoes and isolated communites where they were constantly harassed by the authorites. It became so bad at times that many mutants had to become nomads, roaming cities and countryside looking for some way to support themselves. With so few options mutants were forced to organize.
The earliest manifestation of this organization happened at the behest of a mutant named Healer. His mutation allowed him to manipulate X-genes and induce rapid healing, but in mutants only. He also had an uncanny knowledge of herbs and elixers. But a side-effect of these skills meant that he looked much older than he really was. By the time he was in his early 30s, he already looked like a man in his 70s. This drove him into the mutant ghettoes of New York where he tried his best to help ailing mutants. When the ghettoes kept coming under attack by authorities and wary civilians, he lead the mutants underground and into the sewers. In this harsh environement no one would dare bother them, but to make the conditions livable he had to enlist the help of mutants who could purify water, grow food, and generate electricity so that the society has the necessary resources to thrive. After a few years, the first self-sustaining mutant community was created. They took the name Morlocks as a title to spread the word to other mutants. In time their numbers grew.
Over the next few decades, Healer and his growing ranks of Morlocks spread their ways to other cities throughout the industrialized word. Mutant communities arose in North America, Japan, and Europe. Each community usually had only a few dozen to a few hundred mutants, but they all shared the same struggles in that their appearance made it impossible for them to live on the surface world. They soon developed a complex network of communications where they could share resources and information not just with each other, but other mutant communities that stayed on the surface. As the mutant population continued to swell, the strain on these communities grew. For Healer, it became somewhat of a burden and his frail body did little ot help matters.
Eventually, Healer found himself to be unfit for the full duties of leading the Morlocks. So he began enlisting the help of other leaders who were more able and fit. Over the years a number of would-be visionaries tried and failed to hold the communities together, but that all changed when a woman named Callisto joined. This happened to be a time when the mutant issue was becoming political and the X-men were making waves with their maked vigilante act. She set herself apart from previous leaders in that she channeled the frustrations of the Morlocks into hatred for the surface world. She came to resent them so greatly that she spoke of open rebellion. Healer tried to dissuade her, but the fervor of the Morlocks could not be contained.
It all came to ahead in a plan nicknamed Operation: Level Playing Field. The idea was to give the surface world a taste of their own medicine. Every Morlock community in the world was going to sabatoge the sewer systems and fill the streets of every major city with sewage and toxic sludge. It was bound to inflict mass suffering and death to thousands of people. However, the X-men caught wind of the plan and fought hard to stop it. In an epic struggle under the streets of New York, the X-men overcame Callisto and reached out to Healer. They were able to get them to stand down and stop their war on the surface world. It was a bitter defeat, but one that was not without benefits. Had the plan gone ahead, the authorities were ready to pump toxic gas into the sewers. This would have killed every Morlock. For this Callisto's militant ways fell out of favor, but her authority was not completely revoked.
In an effort to add some oversight to the Morlock leadership, Healer enlisted the help of another charismatic mutant. Her name was Marrow and while not quite a pacifist, she was very adept at being strategic and offered vision for the Morlocks that was more reasonable than what Callisto had in mind. There remained plenty of conflict. Healer, Callisto, and Marrow did not see eye-to-eye very often, but their presence offered some much needed checks and balances to ensure the Morlocks continued to survive and adapt to a constantly changing world.
Once the X-men unmasked and took on a more pivotal role in human/mutant affairs, the door seemed open to a great many possibilities. It is not yet clear what form those possibilities will take. With a mutant population that is still growing, only time will tell.
Character Breakdown: The Morlocks as a group define themselves by their complete separation from civilized society. They embody many of the traits common of outcasts and minority groups. What makes their case so extreme is that in terms of minority, they are the most vulnerable. Their appearance isn't just different. It's so different that it scares or disgusts most people. Rather than try to overcome these obstacles, they seek to set themselves apart and form their own group. Since nobody will give them a job or allow them to make their own living, their only choice is to look after each other.
These grim circumstances create a powerful sense of anomie, which describes a person or a group of people as having lost all sense of social norms. The word iself means "without law" and this fits the Morlocks perfectly because they exist outside the regular laws and norms of the rest of society. They not only reject these norms, but they are prone to fighting them. Their ill-fated Operation Level Playing Field is the best example of this. This sense of utter alienation from the surface world adds to their negative perceptions of everyone who isn't part of the Morlocks. Even other mutants are not given any sympathy because the Morlocks see them as part of the world they've abandoned.
As a result, the Morlocks are a very tightly-nit and untrusting people. There's a very strong us-against-them mentality and it's not without merit. In the mutant ghettoes that preceded the Morlocks, they were constantly harassed by the authorities so there really was no one else to look after them. Like many groups of outcasts, they started off as merely a community looking to survive. Once they became more organized, they turned their frustrations outward. They've even developed their own way of categorizing everyone not part of their world as "filthy surface dwellers." Unlike them, the rest of the world lives on clean grounds with sunshine and they see that as some grand statement of superiority. This does not sit well with a group that already feels oppressed and makes active resistance against those not in the group, even other mutants, a constant issue.