In 2029, on the tail-end of the Fullbright incident, a woman calling herself Envoy walked into Mile High Stadium in the middle of a Broncos game. Her true abilities are still unknown, but in sixty seconds, Envoy melted the foundation of the structure and killed fifty thousand people. By the time local law enforcement had arrived, she had twisted the wreckage into a fortress of steel, rock, and human bodies.
All attempts to breach the Steel Citadel have failed. Three professional heroes lost their lives to rippling masses of metal and bone. A hostage from within the citadel appeared in Boulder the next Saturday, a corpse with a message from Envoy. An introduction, and a set of instructions. Evacuate a 1.5-mile radius around the Steel Citadel, or have everyone inside that line be turned into fodder for the fortress walls.
Denver is Envoy's city now, but--for the most part--little has changed. Taxpayers pay taxes, Law enforcement enforces laws. After the initial panic of evacuation and people leaving the city, the natural draws of the city (and the destruction of other areas of the country) resulted in many people simply weathering the change the best they could. Envoy turned out to be a relatively benevolent dictator: as long as no one entered her dead zone, she more or less left them to their own devices.
There is a caveat to her generosity: she controls all aspects of the city's government. Anyone who has authority in the city either answers to her, or doesn't live out the day. Rules are fairly lax, and corporations love it. Denver is a hotspot for corporate research and development, as well as an underbelly the likes of which rivals Midwest City or Cedar Fort. A high-tech city under a watchful, terrifying eye.
Welcome to the world of 2047, where supertech has advanced the world to levels of tech that humans are wildly unprepared for. The presence of Type 1M (mutant) superpowers led to an explosive growth of tech beyond the wildest dreams of any futurist, leading to a renaissance of body modifications and improvements. Certain superpowered creators and developers learned early on the value of their advanced materials and engineering, and built empires out of metal and composites. This has led to what some call "the twin pillars of augmentation": internal cyberware, and external exorobotics. Also present in the world (to a lesser extent) are biowares.
Cyberware is defined in dictionaries as "prostheses which replicate human limbs, or hardware implanted in the human body to provide additional function." Ranging from replacement arms and hearts to synthetic muscle enhancements to neural laces, cyberware is popular for its form-factor and ease of use. Most cyberware is designed to be user friendly wherever possible, since few would wish to have an arm which they couldn't easily control. When enough money is involved, bleeding-edge materials and processes are used to reduce cyberware weight and improve functionality. The limitations of cyberware are power supply and (for high-end wares) production costs.
Most low-end cyberware relies on a charging port for an external power source, with limited operation time being the biggest downside for affordable wares. For some cyberwares where external charging is unfeasible (such as neural laces, adrenal stimulators, etc) an internal power-diverter draws glucose, proteins, or desired neurotransmitters from the body and stores them for later use. Oftentimes this results in the cyberware's owner being forced to consume far larger amounts of food than a non-augmented human, or risk falling into various states of disarray. Still other wares use piezoelectrics, finely threaded through joints to provide constant charging for those on the move, and a host of other charging technologies have been shown to have potential.
The top of the line cyberware uses bespoke power sources from the heavy-hitters of supertechnology. Solar wave absortion, exotic matter converters...regardless of the trademarked, technobabble name stamped on the tin, the most expensive of cyberware has no issue running night and day with no rest. Naturally, few ever find the funds to purchase augments of this caliber: corporate security, government superprojects, and very very wealthy individuals.
While not a superpower, being capable of fully integrating with cyberware is a genetic plus that not all humans are born with. Others can still wire up, but special drugs are sometimes required to prevent the rejection of the metal and synthetic muscles. Some of these drugs are better for the body than others, and many of them are incredibly addictive.
Despite this, cyberware is some of the most popular technology around. Many find the allure of becoming superhuman to be all be irresistible.
Exorobotics make up the other half of augmentation. The primary benefit of exorobotics is their total lack of regard for physical limitaions. Exoarmor can fit inordinate amounts of tech into various nooks and crannies, while cyberware will always be limited by how much foreign material a human body can store before breaking down.
Power supply is rarely an issue for Exorobotics. They can carry massive batteries, and the most expensive of them can implement miniaturized fusion reactors. Supertechnology is sometimes present in exorobotics, but the prevailing attitude among developers is "why bother?". Miniature fusion, while expensive and complicated, has been all but mastered, and it frequently provides all the power a single human could ever use.
Exorobotics are generally heavy, bulky, powerful, and hard to control. Certain militaries and police institutions have a group of soldiers which dedicate their time to taming the beasts that are powersuits. As with all augments, the high-end exorobotics developed for military use and corporate security uses supermaterials to reduce weight and improve response time, while still providing an immense amount of protection.
Biowares are present in the world, but have yet to be sufficiently developed for widespread integration with society. The holy grail of body augmentation, biowares provide the benefits of cyberware, without any messy surgery, maintenance, or possible acute rejection system. Even in a world of supergeniuses and superscience, replicating and improving the human body as if it were the body itself is a slowly-progressing behemoth.
Biowares are also limited in their benefits: no flesh will ever replace the raw stopping force exoroboticsts can provide, for example. Still, the dream of a body-pure, post-human society is still alive.
How did this cyberpunk world come to pass if the year is just 2047? Supers, that's how. Imagine normal wars with abnormal soldiers. Terrorists given terrific powers. In 2020, a terrorist group by the name of CYAN suddenly gained the ability to trigger earthquakes. The San Andreas fault was always going to be bad, but coaxed by manic operatives, it all but annihilated San Francisco, and sent Los Angeles into a similar tailspin.
In 2028, the world lost faith in supers altogether, when Fullbright tried to bring asteroid 1997XF11 into Earth's atmosphere as it passed by. Fullbright: a flying brick immune to space, who snapped after a bad breakup. Earth's premier team at the time, titled "Earth's Best", was able to mitigate some of the damage, but not nearly enough. The original asteroid would have annihilated all life on Earth. After Earth's Best were done with it, two smaller asteroids struck the Earth: in the Pacific ocean, and the west end of Russia, respectively. The resulting tsunamis and destruction killed millions, and displaced millions more.
Now, in 2047, the US West coast is still recovering from hefty damage, and Southeast Asia is still clawing back to life. The world is different now, just different enough for corporations to take advantage of the damage and bring the world to heel. People have moved away from the danger zones, leading to sprawls like Midwest City and Cedar Fort, South Carolina. But humanity is tough, and if there are no other mega-catastrophes, will survive.
Just how many people in the world are Super? At a guess, science says 0.04% of the 8 billion humans currently alive. Of those, only a tiny fraction have the truly awe inspiring power levels of Envoy or Fullbright. More common is varying degrees of super strength, hyperintelligence, enhanced senses, etc. There are several categories of enhanced powers.
The first is external, Type 1S. These are science based. Enhanced armor, super serums/drugs, augmentations, etc. These are the most common type of superpower, and explain the large number of supers mentioned above. At a glance, these make up 80% of the supers in the world of 2047.
The second is internal, Type 1M: the "mutants" of the world. They are the longest-running type of power, appearing in some form or another since the start of recorded history. They also tend to be the most variable of superpowers. Outliers do appear: Envoy is hypothesized to be an incredibly powerful mutant, but this is unproved. Mutant powers tend to have little rhyme or reason: some are fast, some are strong, some are loud, some make copies of their body parts, some eat food and manifest the food as body parts. Telekinesis is common, telepathy is highly uncommon. High intellect mutants are one of the primary reasons for the advanced level of technology in the world of 2047. This type makes up 10% of the Supers in the world. Supers such as Stardust full under this category, despite not being born with their powers.
The final is external, type II. These are magic or ritual based powers, and vary widely in their uses and power levels. Hex was one of the primary examples of this type of hero. Type 2M heroes are where the line is blurred. Some have otherworldly agreements with beings of unimaginable power, some use herbs and plants mixed with just the right kind of faith to perform miracles. In theory, anyone can learn these powers, but due to the vast amount of misinformation in the world at large, as well as whispers of a cabal hunting down "unregistered" magicians, this type of Super makes up only 10% of the world, from voodoo doctors to sorcerers.
Standing at 5'4", Hannah is shorter than most of her peers and with a slender frame. She has waist length auburn hair, normally kept out of her face and tied in a loose bun, it has a natural curl but occasionally she will wear it poker straight. After the incident, she was left with yellow eyes like that of a snake, with a slit for an iris. She is incredibly self-conscious of it, and so continues to wear hazel coloured contacts - even if they do start to irritate her after a while. She would rather the discomfort than feel that she looks like a monster to people.
Hannah will almost always wear gloves - she is terrified of poisoning someone fatally with her touch. Her 'Toxin' outfit is a simple black bodysuit with boots, gloves, and an eye mask. She will wear clothing that shows her preference for simplicity, that said, she didn't leave it entirely unfashionable - when light strikes it in a certain way, you can see a snake-like scale pattern covering it.
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Hannah’s origin as a mutant, like many other mutants before her, was forged from a tragedy. Namely, the senseless death of her younger brother at the hands of a criminal gang.
But before we get to that - we must first understand how she got there…
A young woman with a passion for chemistry, popular, adored by her friends, and from a loving, affluent family. Her life, from the outside appeared to be as perfect a life as it could be. Hannah was a charming, prodigious student, starting her bachelors a year earlier.
While Hannah was triumphant in her life, her brother, Adam, was not. He was outcast by their family. As Hannah became more successful, he resorted to petty crimes and getting in with the wrong crowd. This escalated over the years, far into Hannah starting her career as a biochemical engineer and weapons developer.
At that time, Hannah had been working on a prototype for a non-lethal weapon that fired doses of non-toxic chemical projectiles that could subdue without harm, or harm to the environment…
When did you last see your family?
On my father's birthday. But Adam d-d-d-didn't show. My mother explained that he had f-fallen in with a tough crowd and she was w-w-worried about him...
That seems like a drastic measure to take, no?
Denver at night is still a scary place. I shouldn't have gone alone. I sh-sh-should have called someone to tell them where I was. He had reached out to me a few times for advice but I'd b-b-been so busy working. My brother was in trouble with some thugs... I had with me a prototype I'd been working on, it was a capsule but I wasn't sure the for-f-formula was right.
Sounds like that shouldn't have been on your person - you said it was top secret work…
I shouldn't have had it. It should ne-n-never have left the lab, I just... I had been planning to test it at my home lab that night... I n-n-never made it home. The f-fus-fusion saved my life though - and also ruined it.
Do you remember what happened?
I remember driving around Denver, it was rain-raining. I remember that. I eventually found Ada-Adam, he was heading into some seedy looking club with some scary looking guys.
A reckless decision, wasn't it?
I-I-In a way...
I head-headed downstairs after him, I just... I re-remember hearing arguing and then I heard a g-gun-g-gunshot…They shot my brother. I-I shouldn't have rushed in. I thought that if I broke the cap-c-capsule the gas would take them down, I could use it and it would put-p-put them out for a while.
But you didn't want to kill them?
Goodness no! I wanted to save Adam, and then I would contact the police!
So what happened after that?
They jumped me first. It was a blur, it was a big-big blur. I just rem-remember the smell of incense in the room, cigars, and whisky. It hurt when they twisted my arm-arms behind my b-ba-b-back. They didn't touch my purse but they spoke for a while. I wasn't listening…
And then what?
Th-they threw me into a pit in the back room… It was filled with sn-snakes. They were, bi-biting me and ummm, my purse. I lan-landed on it and broke the prototype and th-then a cloud of g-gas.
Russell is a liability, in my opinion.
Barely able to string a sentence together without a stammer in her interview. Constantly wringing her hands, tapping her foot. Her story is interesting enough, it checks out. We did find evidence of her accident but unfortunately no evidence remained of the chemical fusion that was left behind.
Her qualifications speak well for her. She has excelled in biological engineering and has built a steady career in it for the last decade. Her accident 3 years ago has left her out of work until we found her... Given a good "safe" environment at Caltex, the woman will thrive.
Keep her out of the way of the others, give her a lab of her own, encourage her to stay up there. Caltex could greatly use her research and her work. The original chemical fusion she had made, I want her to replicate it for us.
Keep an eye on her.
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Once a lively, and spirited young woman, she is now much more reserved - for fear that she will get too close to anyone. In the years since her change, she has limited her contact with others, and to the debilitating point where her nervousness about human contact has had her develop a stutter. Her insecurities run deep, she knows that others fear, distrust, and dislike her. She hears the names whispered, she knows that she receives cruel nicknames from those around her, and she knows they mock her, yet she remains silent...
Beneath the nerves, her spirit lies dormant. When given the chance to warm up, she has a quick and pithy sense of humour that speaks to her intelligence. She is an overly kind and generous person, often lending a listening ear to those who care to spend time with her. She is unlikely to initiate contact, and instead requires someone to gently coax her from her shell.
She has a strong sense of right and wrong, and will always act in what she feels is in the best interest for true justice - which is in part the reason she ended up with her mutations in the first place.