The Cascade Effect

            Metahuman appearances are separated into three instances, occurring approximately 2000 years apart.  In the case of the first two, the Metahumans produced differed substantially from the third in that in the case of the earlier, Metahuman power levels began high and faded over the ensuing generations.  In the case of the First Emergence the Metahumans that became the Greek pantheon began with god-like powers that were diluted over time until the genetics all but disappeared.  In the Second Emergence this gradual diminution was not as obvious for the simple reason that the so-called Norse Gods managed to kill themselves off in their Ragnorak leaving very few descendents.  The Third Emergence began differently.

            A combination of events, beginning in 1859 with the Carrington Event started the Third Emergence with a whisper rather than a bang.  What would become known as the Third Generations Metas exhibited low level abilities on par with fourth or fifth generational descendents of the Greeks.  Minor powers, and generally singular, with the vast majority going unnoticed even by the metahuman.  Exceptional individuals such as 'Soapy’ Smith, Casey Jones and Billy the Kid were the rare example of Metahumans that adapted to their particular abilities, each in their own way.

            Included in this Generation were the 'Mystery Men’ of the 1930s through 1940s that displayed extraordinary abilities that could, with a little stretch of the imagination, be viewed as within the human norm.  A very few of these, however, fell outside what could reasonably be explained.  They became the 'heroes’ of the Pulp Era with names like Captain Orb, Marksman, Peregrine and Sgt. Steel.  They fought and died battling the enemies of humanity such as Rising Sun, Panzer and Herr Doktor, also Metahumans but dedicated to supporting the evil régimes of Japan and the Nazis.  By the time World War II had ended they had become the stuff of comics and Pulp Adventure magazines, fantastical creations of imaginative writers. They faded into obscurity and gradually died out, forgotten.

            The Atomic Age brought about the Fourth Generation.  With above-ground testing of nuclear weapons throwing radioactive dust into the atmosphere, long dormant genetic remnants of earlier Metahumans began to awaken.  Within months of the bomb that fell on Hiroshima, a child was born in Vladivostok over 600 miles to the north that would become the world’s first recognized 'Metahuman’ and hence the world’s first recognized 'superhero’, Red Guard.  Post-war testing by the United States increased markedly the odds of a child being born on the North American continent by a thousand fold and with the Soviet development of their own bomb four years later, those chances spread to Europe and western Asia.  The year 1958 saw a total of 72 atomic blasts from the United States alone, 37 of them at the Nevada test site.  Radiation, combined with latent genetics and the power level increased until the few that presented themselves to the public were capable of remarkable feats.

            One Hundred and forty, all be it underground, atomic tests took place in 1971 and the residual of these tests and nuclear accidents such as Three Mile Island, spread around the world producing the Fifth Generation.  These few were truly super-powered and saw the real dawning of the 'supervillain’.  Heretofore most had chosen to serve humanity in one form or another, with only Red Guard standing up as a representative of any government.  The Metahumans born in the early 1970s though, were of a different mind and most became criminals with only a few vigilantes standing against them.

            Generation Six began in May of 1986 when Chernobyl reactor in the Ukraine exploded and melted down.  This generation was by far the largest in 2000 years and appeared around the world to even the islands of the Pacific.  Easily as powerful as the previous Fifth Generation, the Sixth developed a variety of abilities unseen by any previous Metahumans as far back as the Greeks.  This Gen possessed remarkable toughness with a panoply of powers from true flight to the superhuman strength to lift modern heavy cruisers.  It was this group the world unilaterally decided to harness, a process that began on July 4, 2001 and started in the United States.

            Though the exact capabilities of the Greek and Norse Emergences are shrouded in time, the gradual increase in power of the current Emergence has led to the 'Cascade Effect’ theory that postulates an ever-increasing level of power until some 'break point’ is reached at which time the Metahumans will all but disappear for another 2000 years.  No one is willing to speculate the potential end point but Metahumans now run the risk of being seen as a threat to all humanity.  Many countries, notably those allied with the United States, are moving toward some reasonable compact with the known Metahumans that will ensure peaceful co-existence but given the power of the press and their propensity to paint with broad strokes, the future of that peaceful co-existence looks bleak.

             Herein will be presented notable, and not so notable, metahumans that that make up this Earth's history.  This will be an ongoing project and as I do not work as quickly as I did once, this might take a while.

Gen Level*

Gen 1: 50/50, usually one-trick ponies.  This is the Greek Cascade. 1 point Metahuman Lifespan: Life Support (Longevity: 200 years)

Gen 2: 75/75, tougher one-trick ponies.  This is the Norse Cascade. 1 point Metahuman Lifespan: Life Support (Longevity: 200 years)

Gen 3: 100/100, two or three powers. First appeared after 1859.  Most Mystery Men fall into this category. This is the Carrington Cascade.  1 point Metahuman Lifespan: Life Support (Longevity: 200 years)

Gen 4: 125/125, a variety of powers with EC and MP rare. First appeared after Aug. 1945. This is the Atomic Cascade. 1 point Metahuman Lifespan: Life Support (Longevity: 200 years)

Gen 5: 150/150, a variety of powers with EC and MP becoming more common. 
First appeared after 1970.  This is the Fallout Cascade. 1 point Metahuman Lifespan: Life Support (Longevity: 200 years)

Gen 6: 200/150, few power limits, ECs and MPs common. First appeared after May of 1986. This is the Chernobyl Cascade. 2 points Metahuman Lifespan: Life Support (Longevity: 400 years)

*Note: In the current time frame, Generation levels tend to be random with the majority of metahumans falling in the Gen 1 or Gen 2 category

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