Imagine what it would be like to be so physically altered by your super abilities that you no longer appear human anymore, to the point you only cause fear and revulsion in anyone that sees you. It would be impossible for you to hide out in the open like many other super powered individuals manage to do. When the CTRA was in full effect and individuals were required to register their powers, the only options for such inidivuals was to either escape to the fringes of society or face confinement in an AEGIS "residential" facility, which many considered tantamount to imprisonment. On the run, you would have been reduced to living like an animal, always looking over your shoulder for the AEGIS agents relentlessly on your trail. The isolation would become too much to bear and eventually you would seek out others like yourself.
For many years, this is exactly how many of these poor unfortunate individuals existed, the victims of countless government, corporate, and military experiments now tossed aside and rejected by everyone. Some managed to find others like themselves to form isolated communities in abandoned tunnels and desolate woods, far away from prying eyes. They were content to live out their lives in this manner and keep to themselves,staying as far away from the rest of society as possible. Then one cold day in the early spring of 2004, all of that changed beneath the streets of Rochester, New York.
A small community of these severely mutated refugees had taken up residence in the deserted tunnels of an abandoned subway project in the upstate city of Rochester on the shores of Lake Ontario. Perhaps this particular city was just a little too small, or its citizens a little too vigilant, but the tunnel dwellers found it increasingly difficult to go unnoticed by the people living above. With political pressure mounting, the mayor turned to the governor of New York who in turn went to President Perot for a solution to the growing problem. The President ordered AEGIS to conduct a raid on the abandoned Rochester subway tunnels to flush out and detain the unregistered super powered refugees in violation of the CTRA.
As teams of FIST responders and heavy hitters stormed the tunnels, a gas main broke in an unrelated incident causing a small explosion beneath the streets. The AEGIS agents on site mistakenly took this to mean the super powered mutants were armed and had rigged the tunnels with bombs and booby traps. The situation quickly escalated into bloodshed, and only a handful of the supers managed to escape with their lives. Superhuman rights activists tried unsuccessfully to use this incident to condemn the President and AEGIS, but the citizens of Rochester and beyond were actually pleased that the situation had been finally resolved.
After the tragic events of Rochester, it became clear to the isolated groups of mutated superhuman refugees that they needed to form an alliance for mutual protection. Calling themselves the Freakshow after thederogatory term used by AEGIS agents for their kind, they began to form an informal network of communities and establish a modern day underground railroad to help others like them to escape from AEGIS’s relentless persecution. While many of the more harsh restrictions of the CTRA have been dropped or altered, there is still a great deal of persecution for those who's powers cause odd physical changes, and many in Freakshow still feel that superhuman rights are unfairly restricted. They often work closely with sympathetic members of the Pantheon with whom they share mutual goals. Today, AEGIS still considers the Freakshow a significant threat and continues to pursue them as domestic terrorists.