- 1742 - The cult of Hive that would eventually become Hydra begins a eugenics program in Prussia.
- 1833 - Josef Manning, one of the cult's breeding lines, emigrates to America.
- 1926 - Paul Manning is born on October 17.
- 1929 - Paul's father, William, dies in a tavern brawl before he can indoctrinate his son into Hydra.
- 1942 - After Pearl Harbor, Paul lies about his age and joins the Army.
- 1944 - Paul discovers, while under fire, that he can 'boost'.
- 1945 - Paul is awarded the Bronze Star then transferred to SSR.
- 1953 - SHIELD is formed and Paul joins as a senior agent.
- 1955 - Section 3, SHIELD's occult division, is formed. The rest of the agency nicknames it WEIRD (Witchcraft, Extranormalities, and Invocations Response Department).
- 1956 - SHIELD forces raid a Hydra base. Among other mystic items, the Rapture is found and bonds with Paul.
- 1961 - Paul becomes the head of Section 3.
- Superior Genes: Like a thoroughbred, Paul was bred to be a superior example of the species. Physically, he can be considered to be at near peak human condition and has the potential to excel at any activity he actually works at with less effort. He still has to learn the skills required but physically mastering them will come easier. He's as healthy as a horse and his immune system can fight off all but the worst diseases. Drugs and toxins have a lessened effect and he heals very quickly (for a human) and with minimal scarring. His eyesight is 20/10 and his nightvision is superb. Longevity is extended. Other physical attributes are similarly enhanced. There's nothing supernatural or superpowered about him, he's just top of the line breeding stock. The more ephemeral qualities of humanity were more difficult to get a handle on for 19th and early 20th century Eugenicists than the physical so mentally he's above average intelligence but not a genius.
- Boosting: Paul has the ability to, at will, turn on or off the adrenalin rush that produces the 'hysterical strength' phenomenon that is inherent in all humans. The most well known effect of this is that it increases his strength greatly, enough to easily flip a truck but not actually lift one though motorcycles and some smaller cars are possible for very short periods of time. Because of the greater strength, he can also run faster, jump further, and just about anything else that is dependent on muscular strength. It also focuses his concentration and increases reaction time along with all the other normal effects of the hormones produced in the adrenal glands. He can activate it for just a short burst of seconds as needed or leave it on for an extended duration that doesn't exceed five minutes.
- The Rapture: One of the 13 great artifacts that can destroy or create the universe if they all come together at once. In the shape of a cross with two bars, the Rapture is sentient though it doesn't speak to the one who wears it. While it doesn't choose a bearer per se, it can kill someone who tries to take it if it doesn't approve.
- -Brimstone Warrior: The most obvious of the Rapture's abilities. So long as the Rapture is in Paul's possession, he has the ability to transform into a supernatural creature. He takes on the appearance of a chiseled, rocky humanoid with coal black skin. His body is marred by cracks and pits, glowing with fire as are his eyes. In this form, he becomes extremely strong, capable of tossing around 25 tons or so without straining, and gains a degree of invulnerability. Mundane weapons, even military grade, are ineffective against him and he's extremely resistant to physical trauma. Able to affect supernatural creatures normally immaterial to the mundane, he's able to best low level demons and hell creatures with ease and be on an equal footing with mid level and even some high level ones. What he's wearing and carrying transforms with him.
- -Immunities: When fighting demons, it helps a lot to be immune to their special attacks. The bearer of the Rapture can not be possessed or supernaturally tempted, guilt ridden, terrified, etc. He can certainly feel those things 'naturally' but they can't be imposed on him from an outside source. He's completely immune to supernatural fire when he's transformed but even if he's not, it has a greatly lessened effect. And he's also completely immune to the effects of mundane fire and heat.
- -Hell Trave: This is what makes all the demons drool. Paul is able to travel to and from various infernal dimensions. It's not an 'at will' thing; he needs to find portals to where he wants to go and then get to them. Fortunately, as a bearer of the Rapture, he can sense where they are and where they go. And there's a surprisingly large number of them spread throughout the world. Unfortunately, he still has to get to them physically in order to pass through them. Likewise, once in the hell dimensions, he's able to find portals that lead the way back or to other dimensions of a similar vein. The same ability also lets him bypass any wards or guardians of the portals as if he had every right to be there. Note that this applies only to infernal dimensions and those that lean that way (such as Limbo). On the down side, he's actually barred from setting foot in any beatific dimension such as various heavens, the Elysian Fields, etc. He's able to take others with him but it confers no immunity to them against what's likely to be there.
- -The Sight: Because of the Rapture, Paul can sense the supernatural near him (infernal or not) whether it's person, place or thing. He can see through invisibility or disguises to the true appearance of what lies underneath. He can even sense it before seeing it and get a feel for the nature of what he's sensing even if he can't define it exactly.
- -Bringer/Destroyer Of Hope: One of the main powers of the Rapture is to either give or take away hope. It can be an incremental thing or an all or nothing deal. Needless to say, destroying someone's hope completely is devestating and often leads to suicide. But the opposite can be just as bad and someone who is overfilled with hope can be likened to drug induced euphoria with similar effects (and possibly wandering into traffic with an artificial belief that nothing bad could possibly happen to them). Lesser degrees of hope can be used to get someone through rough times, talk them down from the bridge, etc. And giving someone in Hell hope immediately ejects them from hell, in effect restoring them to life. Inflicting hopelessness can be used as a punishment or attack, magnifying the victim's doubts, fears and guilt. Those with a very strong sense of self, a moral certainty or high willpower have the easiest time resisting this supernatural effect while those whose are consumed by guilt or doubt or have already hit rock bottom make it like shooting fish in a barrel.