In 1937, a major blackout rolled across the eastern coast of North America and the west shores of Europe. It lasted for two days. When the lights came back on, numerous people in both areas displayed strange powers. Some thought it was the work of the Devil, or maybe of aliens. No one had any answers. At the least, no one spoke of any.
Five years passed. Just as had happened in our timeline, Hitler invaded Poland and started World War Two, but now with super-powered individuals leading his armies. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States joined the war. Every able-bodied man with powers was conscripted into the fight, no exceptions. The women and children were left to take care of the home front.
At the University of Chicago, Professor John Haskill had founded the MERLIN Project, to study these powered individuals, funded by a grant from the US Army. Unfortunately, with most of the men gone, he was left to study the women and a few remaining men. Like everyone else during this time, he was forced to make do.
Then he received word that someone had made a discovery in post-Blitz London, a discovery that related to these powered individuals, these "Paragons" as they were called. Prof. Haskill was many things--none of them, however, was brave. So he sent some of his subjects to London in his place to investigate. What they find may very well change the world.