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Let me pitch you a setting: The year is 2017, and thanks to an extradimensional portal Humans have begun to develop superpowers. The Power Scale for these supers is low-to-mid Street Level

(meaning that a Superman-esque superhuman would cause EVERYONE to flip).

Note: The source of the Superhumans power comes from a variety of Nodes scattered across their body/in their cells [Similar to the Magic System from this question: Would "magic" still be called "magic" in a modern era? (except the fact that their Nodes can only channel their energy in a specific manner)].

So my question is... How could I introduce these Superhumans into my setting (which is IDENTICAL to our world... except for the superhumans) without causing the collapse of society.

Bonus if you can come with a good name for them!

Note: The advent of Superpowered Humans is not immediate, rather it occurs over a few generations (with an increasing number of them per generation)

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closed as too broad by Aify, Thucydides, Vincent, kingledion, Hohmannfan Jan 17 '17 at 5:32

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ I know this unrelated to the question: but here's a cool song: youtube.com/watch?v=69P1K5Veq9c $\endgroup$ – AnAspiringAuthor Jan 16 '17 at 21:59
  • $\begingroup$ What sort of 'superpowers' do you have in mind? Are these something to be chosen by someone answering or is there a particular story you want us to fit to? $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Jan 16 '17 at 22:55
  • $\begingroup$ What fraction of the world is becoming superhuman? (I originally started toying with the idea of everyone becoming superhuman, which leads to some interesting questions indeed!) $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jan 16 '17 at 22:57
  • $\begingroup$ I find this to be a rather interesting class of questions. I've had to vote to close too many questions phrased as "What if the world was identical to ours except ________" because they always turn into trash as society (or the structure of the universe) crumbles around them. Turning the question around and instead saying "I need this to be stable, but eventually cause change X and Y" avoids that fate. I'm curious to see how answers go. Mine may take me a bit. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jan 16 '17 at 23:02
  • $\begingroup$ about 25% of the World population has received superpowers (and some newborn babies have been born with Nodes at the same as the portal opened) $\endgroup$ – AnAspiringAuthor Jan 16 '17 at 23:04
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If twenty-five percent of the world's population developed super-powers, then everybody will know someone who has super-powers. Often that will be someone in your family. It's hard to panic if Aunt Hortense can levitate or light the gas stove with her finger tip.

While there maybe people who can bend steel bars with their bare hands, there were be few who can transport skyscrapers or change the course of mighty rivers. (And if I read the OP's question correctly, that means none.)

There are a couple of aspects of this transformation to the global population. These supers are beginning to develop their super-powers. Aunt Hortense might start by hovering a centimetre or two off the ground, gradually she will rise higher, and perhaps eventually she might sail up to tree tops.

The supers will need to learn how to use super-powers. Strong enough to lift a car? OK. That's about a ton. So someone who can lift a ton will need to learn how to lift cars carefully, without wrecking them.

As for flying, never does anyone explain how super who can fly can do so without flying lessons. Flying an aircraft is extremely non-intuitive. Ask anyone has to fly an aircraft. Fortunately, the level of flight supers are likely to have means they get stuck in orbit or achieve escape velocity to never return. Perhaps they can only fly at one hundred metres maximum and at about running speed. or if they're lucky as fast as a fast car.

Since their super-powers have a form of biological basis, those super-powers will need to be powered and fueled by metabolic energy. They have to eat. Not all their super-powers will enable the supers to just take what they want. Soon they will slow down or run out of power, then face the consequences of their super-powered misdeeds.

Zapping your kid sister and the dog with your electrocyte-based electricity manipulation may have been fun at the time. But when your battery's flat and a pair of angry parents descend on you, it might be time to rethink junior supervillainy as a career option.

The chances are this will become a world where people, at least, a quarter of them, will be able to do remarkable things. This won't change their lives too drastically. Very few will don a mask, become a vigilante and go crime fighting. The usual suspects will use their new found super-powers to assist with their criminal activities. But the boys and girls in blue will have their fair share of super-powers too.

There will be a distinct absence of supers who can achieve world domination overnight. In some ways it will be like if 25% of the population became instant Olympic athletes. Amazing at first, amusing later on, and eventually situation normal before next Xmas.

The next generation of kids will soon be asking: how did people cope without super-powers? And they will the usual answer of we just did because that's how things were back then.

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  • $\begingroup$ Great answer! although I just want to clarify a few things. First of all the Superpowered humans have the Nodes AND their biological adaptations (depending on the power set). Essentially that means that their powers are powered by BOTH metabolic energy AND energy from within the environment $\endgroup$ – AnAspiringAuthor Jan 17 '17 at 0:57
  • $\begingroup$ Quick question: Did you use the link from my question as a reference point? If not that's okay. $\endgroup$ – AnAspiringAuthor Jan 17 '17 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ @AnAspiringAuthor Grateful for your clarification. No I didn't use your link. Though I had seen your earlier questions. My brain was running on what it remembered. Unless a super can recharge their metabolic energy from the environment, they can become exhausted in the normal way. if telekinesis needs the same amount of metabolic power to lift an object of the same weight as plain lifting, then that run down their metabolic reserves as per normal. If the lifting power all came from the environment, then not. Does my answer need improving? If so, say so. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jan 17 '17 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ While they cannot draw Metabolic energy from the environment they can draw other forms of energy from the environment and store it in capacitor-esque cells (note: This is NOT converting it into Metabolic energy... somehow). Anyway as I was about to say... No, your answer does not need improving. It's actually really well made. I would've never thought of that! Thanks m8 $\endgroup$ – AnAspiringAuthor Jan 17 '17 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ @AnAspiringAuthor Glad to give you extra ideas. Knowing that makes it worthwhile answering your question. $\endgroup$ – a4android Jan 17 '17 at 3:04
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Some suspension of disbelief will be required no matter what solution you'll find, but I assume you're looking to minimize the need of it as much as possible (The reader will only need to believe that the solution worked, instead of believing that society wasn't destabilized).

So! Let's break the problem down. How would you make normal people NOT freak out when faced with an unexpected, life-changing situation?

For that I have to ask- what do people do when faced with such situations? Usually- they look up. Be it a deity, the authorities, a mentor or a parent, or even themselves, if they have the qualities required.

So, how do you use this answer to prevent mass-panic? Question is- who exactly will be doing the "calm down the public before Molotov start flying" song and dance? The government? A mass-media channel?

To put it on track- if people can hear the message "everything is fine' all around them, and from sources they can trust- they're gonna buy it. Think about celebrities lighting cigarettes with their fingertips on twitter like nothing's out of the ordinary, youtubers and internet personalities flooding the internet with "everything is ok", so much that it becomes a meme. (I really like this one btw, imagine a picture of a silly dog or something and it has the text writing "I woke up to find my nose on the floor, but everything is OK")

Someone has to pull the strings, and it's not gonna be an easy task, not for him to do, nor for you to describe, but I'm sure just that would be a fascinating few chapters to read!

That or, you know, just have the whole world dream the same dream or something...

Oh, and you wanted a name for them, right? I vote for "the lucky ones". Would probably catch quickly by everyone, and could even make for a few wordplays here and there.

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First, I'll go for the bonus round.

Names for them: Specials

Extras

Exceptionals

Beyonders (as in beyond human)

Phenoms (short for Phenomenals)

Marvels

the Powered

the Endowed or an endow

Remarkables

the Inspired

the Unfettered (as in unfettered by human DNA)

Gifted

Slur names for them:

Freaks

Monsters

Deviants

GenDevs (Genetic Deviants)

anomalies (can be an insult or not)

Really have to say that there's a lot that people won't believe this is happening for quite a while. There will be YouTube Videos, but there are plenty of crazy You Tube vids that are faked.

In the meantime, there will be high level government or corporate orgs that might notice this, and want to study these folks, while at the same time keeping it a secret for as long as they can, so that they can experiment for as long as they can. They will also recruit specials to work for them, and tag/track any they can clandestinely.

As long as they don't glow or anything, these folks tend to be just a little more than ordinary people. That's not to hard to cover up, up to a point.

Eventually there will be stories here and there in fringe news--and buzz feed, and other sources, and finally it will make mainstream, in a newspaper. Then, there will be a TV interview. There might be a hero that is known. It's best if the person who is first known is something like a firefighter or police officer, whose abilities will be shown in the line of duty. If there's a PR firm or something estimating when it will break, they might specifically break it this way, for minimum panic.

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  • $\begingroup$ I forgot to mention this in my question. People with certain powers will have biological adaptations to aid their abilities. For example, if someone's power is electricity manipulation then theyll have electrocytes (those cells that electric eels have) to aid their powerset. But otherwise this is an AMAZING answer $\endgroup$ – AnAspiringAuthor Jan 17 '17 at 0:15
  • $\begingroup$ if that (for some reason) pisses you off then I sincerely apologize! $\endgroup$ – AnAspiringAuthor Jan 17 '17 at 0:18
  • $\begingroup$ @AnAspiringAuthor don't see why it would piss me off? Think the answer still applies, however the powers work. Glad you like. :) $\endgroup$ – Erin Thursby Jan 17 '17 at 0:29
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I'm used to having people mad at me $\endgroup$ – AnAspiringAuthor Jan 17 '17 at 1:03
  • $\begingroup$ Well, well you really went to town on coming up with names for the supers. A few are stock standard, but nothing wrong with that; stock standard is often what would be used. The name that really gets my seal of approval is: Phenomenals. Forget the short form of Phenoms. Phenomenals, by itself, is way ahead of the pack. I'm surprised there isn't a DC or Marvel title called the Phenomenals. There really should be! $\endgroup$ – a4android Jan 17 '17 at 3:10

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