Miles Craven became director of International Operations after it became an independent agency
Under Miles Craven, I.O. became a vehicle for Craven's obsession with superhumans. Craven wanted to control a group of superhumans himself and had the luck to come into contact with Dr. Simon Tsung. Tsung had found a baby with superhuman powers. This baby, Ethan McCain, was the reincarnation of Sigma, a superhero from an alternate universe. Tsung studied the baby and managed to isolate the source of its superhuman powers: the Gen-factor. Craven exposed many test-subjects to the Gen-factor, but most of them died or went insane. Others were physically mutated into monsters and Craven locked them away on Level Nine. During these tests Craven was assisted by Gabriel Newman, a telepath. When Tsung found out about Craven's experiments, he went into hiding with the help of Admiral Philip Cray, father of Michael Cray.
After many failed experiments, Craven decided to expose his best men to the Gen-factor. He sent Team 7 on a fake mission and exposed them to the Gen-factor, claiming later that it was a chemical weapon used by their enemy. Most of Team 7 started to develop superpowers, except for Michael Cray, whose powers wouldn't manifest till 20 years later. Other members went insane or committed suicide, but in the end seven members of Team 7 had developed superpowers while retaining their humanity. Craven sent them out on another bogus mission to test them, leaving Cray behind on the base. He then fired a nuclear weapon at Team 7, but Cray managed to warn them in time. Team 7 combined their powers and formed a shield, allowing them to survive the nuclear weapon. They then went into hiding except for team leader John Lynch.
Team 7's successors, Team 8 were killed on a mission. Lynch managed to get Michael Cray out of prison and together they tracked down Team 7 to fulfill Team 8's mission. Team 7 returned to work for Craven to ensure Cray's freedom, but Craven's goals hadn't changed. A couple of years later Craven tried to capture the children of Team 7, believing that they had inherited their fathers' powers. Most members of Team 7 went into hiding again, though I.O. did manage to capture the children of Team 7 member Stephen Callahan. Matthew and Nicole Callahan were raised by I.O. to be obedient soldiers. Team 7 members John Lynch, Michael Cray and Mark Slayton made a deal with Craven: they would work for I.O. and Craven would leave the rest of Team 7 and their children alone.
Over the next few years, John Lynch worked his way up and became Director of Operations, charged with safeguarding the American people. A former KGB and CIA operative named Ivana Baiul became Director of Sci-Tech, I.O.'s Research and Development division. Alejandro Rios was Director for the department of intelligence. Dominique Faust became Director of Black Arts, I.O.'s division to research occult activity and brainwashing, but this division was kept secret and any ties to I.O. were denied, even to the other three Directors, who came to be known as the Triumvirate. All Directors reported back to Miles Craven, Director of I.O, now known as the National Security Czar. I.O. operated from its headquarters the Black Towers in McLean, Virginia.
Restarting Project Genesis
With the rise of superhero team Youngblood, Craven decided to restart Project Genesis. He authorized Ivana Baiul, who had been training Matthew and Nicole Callahan as Threshold and Bliss, to fulfill this mission. Lynch, once the loyal, unquestioning soldier, had grown to distrust Craven and questioned the sanity of restarting Project Genesis. Baiul ignored his advice and nationwide tests were done on children and teenagers. If they tested positive on the Gen-factor or other genetic anomalies were found, they were taken to Project Genesis. Lynch saw an opportunity to find his own long lost son among the Project Genesis subjects and decided to interfere. He left I.O. and freed a group of children from Project Genesis. This group came to be known as Gen¹³. Ivana Baiul herself went rogue as well, taking another group of superpowered children with her. They came to be known as DV8 or The Deviants.
Baiul was replaced by Alicia Turner, while Lynch's tasks were taken over by Ben Santini, aided by Frank Colby. Despite Lynch going rogue, many agents within I.O., including Colby, retained some loyalty towards Lynch. Faust seemed to remain loyal to Craven, but had in fact closed a pact with Cardinal Lazarus and the Coda for her own profit.
Miles Craven, dying of old age, finally killed himself in order to be resurrected as a cloned body of Sigma. While uploading his memories into the clone, a member of Team 7 killed him. It turned out that Craven's obsession with the Gen-factor was just a way to immortality and power for him. Sigma, now a young adult, killed Craven's clone, Gen-Omega. Ben Santini became the interim Director of I.O.
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