The Letters Page: Episode 22
Let's talk about a shady organization that reaches throughout the Multiverse!
Run Time: 67:07
At the beginning of the podcast, Christopher predicts that this episode will have a run time of an hour and twelve minutes. Turns out, didn't even make it that long!
This episode, we cover F.I.L.T.E.R. in all of its incarnations, get into The Block - the extradimensional F.I.L.T.E.R. prison and HQ, and also talk about the story of Sergeant Steel and his Steel Squadron!
We get to introduce the character of Felix Stone in this episode! Exciting times. (We also dispose of him. Whoops! Spoilers.)
You also get to learn of A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.!
As promised, here is the Time-Crazed Prisoner from The Block:
As we mention at the end of the episode, the next few recordings are all going to happen pretty quickly. Paul and I will be out of town for a wedding in a couple weeks, and we're all more nose-to-the-grindstone than ever right now, so we're doing a pile of recording this coming Friday, and then skipping a week for weddings, and then doing another pile of recording the Friday after that. So! Hit us up with questions for these characters ASAP!
- The Naturalist
- Deadline / Lifeline
Thanks for listening!
- The story of F.I.L.T.E.R. wasn't really set down all in one place, readers would have picked up bits and pieces over the years as part of other stories (primarily K.N.Y.F.E. but also characters like Tempest).
- F.I.L.T.E.R. (the Federal Initiative to Limit Terrorism by Extra-terrestrial Races) was started to take care of the various alien threats that had been showing up in comics over the years (as stated as far back as episode 2 of the podcast, there were a lot of one-off alien and robot foes for the heroes to punch back in the day because of Comics Code Authority rules regarding violence), and it was kind of an "INS for space", no larger agenda or insidious overtones yet. It was initially a US-based thing, but eventually a UN Security Council representative from the UK, Felix Stone, made a big push to make it a worldwide organization as alien threats aren't restricted to any one nation. They keep the name, but move the headquarters to the UK.
- While the group now has expanded funding, it has a startling lack of oversight and Stone, as the man responsible for the changes accrues more control over the organization. He starts getting into some shady practices and uses it for his own enrichment, but is eventually noticed and gets removed from his position both in F.I.L.T.E.R. and the UN. This also eventually leads to F.I.L.T.E.R. being disassociated from the UN and becomes more of a private security force.
- They're still around plenty, though. They show up to help fight aliens or are at least the group that the heroes will deliver captured aliens to after a fight. One notable encounter, eventually, was when they catch an alien who's on the run from some other being but who uses some kind of teleportation technology to do so (sticking with a popular trend with teleportation so far in the Letters Page, teleportation requires some recharge time between uses). The alien was in pretty rough shape upon arrival, and died shortly after, but now F.I.L.T.E.R. has this teleportation device.
- F.I.L.T.E.R. manages to work out what the thing is, to some extent, but in testing they activated it without inputting a destination. Leaving this setting as the initial null value resulted in the portal opening to the Null Space Observatory, a large stone building in the middle of nothing. The Null Space Observatory was built by the Varusiods thousands of years ago (Enclave of the Endlings