The first ‘Defeater’, is generally held to be Simon Forbes. He wasn’t, officially, of course, but he was their spiritual predecessor. What’s important isn’t the name, but the fact that he was in charge of the civilized world’s response to Peggy Martin, and he fell in the line of duty.
Svetlana Popov took up the nascent Union’s equivalent of the Joint Task Force after the fall of the Old World. She was, by all reputation, something of a martinet, grasping long before the rest of the intelligence community the fundamental nature of the world’s upset.
She spent her tenure fruitlessly engaged in the primary aim of the Lineage, the attempted assassination of the tyrant. She was the first to work out that her teleportation, rather than her Ultra strength or durability, was the prime factor in preventing her assassination. She wrote the Maxims, established the recording practices, and fought tirelessly against the other bureaucrats to establish her task force’s primacy over other intelligence efforts.
She killed herself in the aftermath of the Second Defiance. Her suicide note read simply “I can’t do it.”
Ari Metlich took up in her stead. He had been one of her more effective deputies, and he is credited with the first integration of the Defeater project with the Ultrahuman military services.
He didn’t last nearly as long as his mentor, however. When Union Ultras proved no more effective than poison or explosives the leadership lost confidence in him. The Great War was taking up an ever growing amount of resources at this time, and he transferred to more general intelligence operations.
The position went unfilled for a time, before being resurrected by a woman whose name is still classified. ‘Rose’ has been the subject of a number of works of fiction, so I need not detail her tenure in any great detail.
We can credit her with the obsessive nature of the Union’s surveillance of the Regime’s master. We can credit her with the systematic nature of her efforts, and her praiseworthy reluctance to squander Union lives on impossible efforts.
Her celebrated breakdown, where she sought to steal another woman’s place in the Process Order, in the hopes that she would be granted powers allowing her to fight with Prevailer on an even footing, is perhaps overemphasized.
The fact is that, after a period of counseling and retraining, she was permitted to resume work in the intelligence services, as evidenced by the refusal of government sources to give more detailed comments. If she had actually done half the things in those movies they never would have retained her.
The present Defeater, of course, is beyond speculation. He or she fights for us against the great Enemy of humanity. Their lonely struggle, gazing forever into their surveillance systems and striving against all reason to determine a solution to the impossible problem, must still be going on.
We have to believe that. Peggy Martin has said that ‘Force Rules the World’, but we must believe that the opposite is true. Our living world’s will must guide sufficient force to overcome her nihilistic creed.