The world is similar to the world we live in now. We have all the same political, social and environmental issues, the same level of media, technology and education, the same strip malls, gas guzzlers and sitcoms.
People with exotic powers first came to the public eye in the late 50s, with a series of highly publicized crimes perpetrated by someone who could turn themselves invisible. Although this person was never caught, a team of exotic crime-fighters, known as “The American Dream,” was formed to help the people of the United States feel safer at night.
There is still no satisfactory explanation as to the origin of exotic abilities. Roughly 1 in 100,000 people manifests some kind of unexplained ability, ranging from the fairly mundane (such as Martin R. from Dallas, Texas, who can instantly tell the gender of any animal and when it last procreated) to the awesomely destructive that had previously only been the stuff of legend.
Exotic crime rose as more and more super-powered people emerged. In response, some of the original members of The American Dream (with endorsement from then-president Lyndon B. Johnson, along with other political, commercial and popular support) founded an organization named the WatchTower, aimed at fighting crime across the United States.
It quickly became impossible to fight crime over such a vast area, and the WatchTower privatized and branched out into several franchises. Over time this became the de facto standard for cities and/or states to protect themselves against exotic crime. The WatchTower has since spread to the rest of the world, with franchises on every populated continent.
Fortress formed at the same time as WatchTower’s privatization. For security’s sake, not much is known about this branch of the government. They detain exotic criminals and are often involved in their apprehension, sometimes working with (and sometimes against) WatchTower operatives. The world’s only known prison for exotic criminals is run by Fortress and it’s location is a closely guarded secret.