The Vanguard Serial Crimes Unit, commonly abbreviated to VASCU, is a conspiracy of hunters who actively work within the FBI. They have jurisdiction over all crimes that involve serial and mass killings, and also boast an advantage other branches of the bureau do not have: all of their agents are naturally gifted psychics. These agents are able to channel their talents into VASCU's Endowment, Teleinformatics.
VASCU can trace its origins to the British Society of the Twelve Keys, formed in 1890 by Whitechapel's Criminal Investigation Division, Scotland Yard, and the City of London Police to catch the infamous Jack the Ripper. Though never succeeding in catching the killer, they prevented more murders from occurring, saving countless lives. By the Second World War, the Society had gathered almost three hundred members in England, including a separate group in the US. In 1949, the FBI called on the American Twelve Keys to assist in the restructuring of the FBI after the war, J. Edgar Hoover realizing that certain killers were making their mark across state lines, requiring Federal intervention. This was the creation of the Repeat Crimes Unit.
The RCU was a moderate success until a notable incident caused a massive shakeup in the Bureau. When a brother of an RCU agent went missing alongside five others during an excursion out on the Cahulawassee River in Georgia, RCU agents became involved when it was found that similar incidents had been occurring both in Georgia and Alabama. When the investigative team moved in on the family believed responsible for the actions, the agents were engaged in a brutal shootout, killing all but two of the agents involved. When the bodies of the family showed significant evidence that they had been killing and devouring humans for decades, Hoover was forced to restructure again in the face of overwhelming criticism.
The formation of the Serious Crimes Unit in 1953 meant that the agents within could automatically assume control over any crimes involving more than three deaths, rather than wait for police requests for assistance. Borrowing profilers from the former Office of Strategic Services, the SCIU gained valuable insight on the actions and motivations of various killers, and started to successfully incarcerate various serial killers and slashers. With their new emphasis on psychology, the SCIU turned to ex-MK-ULTRA researcher, Dr. Barbara Wintergreen, to aid them. Wintergreen, fresh from the now defunct MK-ULTRA program, had developed a chemical compound that was hypothetically able to unleash a person's psychic potential. Realizing the tool they now had, FBI higher ups started to recklessly use their newly minted psychics without heeding Dr. Wintergreen's advice. Dr. Wintergreen soon vanished, along with her research notes from working with the SCIU.
By the late 1970s, the SCIU had a mixed reputation among law enforcement, both as experienced slasher hunters and a dumping ground for less than ideal agents. Thanks to those agents who underwent the Wintergreen process, the SCIU captured three slashers in 1979, though one burst into flame when he contacted sunlight. When the other two received the death sentence, the SCIU gave the option of undergoing the Wintergreen process to all agents with latent abilities. After a particularly famed success in the town of Haddonfield, the FBI once again restructured, creating what is now the Vanguard Serial Crimes Unit.
Highly secretive in its operations, even from other branches and departments of the FBI, VASCU has become one of the world's foremost authorities on motives, tracking, and capturing almost any type of serial killer imaginable, including those who have become supernaturally gifted.
As a tiny percentage of the human population has any sort of psychic sensitivity, VASCU lays claim to all possible FBI recruits with any hint of psychic talent; often this talent is the only way these agents have any sort of qualification to join the Bureau, as they probably do not even meet the other strict requirements to be an agent. In addition, similar tests are run clandestinely during veteran agents' yearly physicals; agents who unknowingly develop their sixth senses will be quickly transferred to VASCU whether they want to or not. These agents supervise the other recruits and help keep the limited skills of the more underqualified agents from screwing with investigations and interrogations. In both cases, the real reason for their selection or transfer will rarely be discussed until they are members of the unit.
As a branch of the FBI, agents must answer to the agency and to American law, meaning normal serial killers are to be brought in alive, if possible, and given a fair trial. There are a few exceptions, usually with serial killers who have acquired dark, inhuman powers that make them next-to-impossible to watch in a normal prison environment, or with flat out supernatural creatures. A special facility exists in secret in Lansing, Michigan to hold those killers with superhuman abilities, and is the only one in the United States billed as an "ultramax" level prison.
Although it is a very small operation, VASCU does contain three departments that do field work (along with others that are orientated elsewhere). The Field Liaison Department helps handle agents working with local hunters, usually undercover as a member of the cell or compact. The Operations Department is the largest and most active of the three, doing much of the research, investigation, and capturing of target suspects. Finally, the Special Project Department handles extremely unusual or dangerous cases, particularly those involving killers of unusual supernatural strength or cunning.
Hunter: The Vigil Organizations
Ahl al-Jabal · Ama-San · Ashwood Abbey · Azusa-Miko · The Bear Lodge · Barrett Commission · Bijin · Division Six · Habibti Ma · The Hunt Club · Illuminated Brotherhood · Keepers of the Source · Keepers of the Weave · Les Voyageurs · The Long Night · Loyalists of Thule · Maiden's Blood Sisterhood · Network Zero · Night Watch · Null Mysteriis · The Promethean Brotherhood · Protectors of the Light · The Reckoning · The Scarlet Watch · Talbot Group · The Union · Utopia Now · Yuri's Group
Aegis Kai Doru · Ascending Ones · The Cainite Heresy · Cheiron Group · The Faithful of Shulpae · Hototogisu · Knights of Saint Adrian · The Knights of Saint George · Les Mystères · Lucifuge · Malleus Maleficarum · The Merrick Institute · Otodo · Task Force: VALKYRIE · Vanguard Serial Crimes Unit