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Until 1995, history in the CHC universe is pretty much like ours. Super powers were found only in comic books, and extraterrestrial life was the subject of speculation, but no proof.
Among the first metahumans to appear: Paladin, Pulsar, Legion, Falling Star, The Beast, Tien Lung, Gravity Girl, Iron Maiden, Deathstorm, Crystal, and of course, many others who never adopted pseudonyms or became public figures.
The first metahuman battles cause massive destruction in several cities. Seattle, New York, Marseilles, and Tel Aviv are among those suffering large numbers of casualties and great property damage from metahuman attacks.
Metahumans continue to run unchecked all over the globe. Governments recruit as many as they can, corporations are beginning to hire metas, and a few take it upon themselves to act as "heroes" and prevent the rampages of the criminally-minded and insane.
Later that year, several Shabaali and Sebth ships encounter one another about halfway between the Earth and the Moon, and engage in battle. Both sides end up retreating from the solar system, but the battle was noticed on Earth, and despite attempts by most governments to cover it up, rumors that alien spaceships were battling over Earth causes panic worldwide.
The Intervention War. A Shabaali fleet returns, and broadcasts its intention to place the Earth under Shabaali protection. Earth's governments are not delighted at the prospect of becoming an alien "protectorate," even when it turns out that the "aliens" are in fact human. The Shabaali are shocked that their kindness is being rebuffed, and they begin using their mental powers to force Earth's militaries to stand down. Several metahumans (including Paladin, Pulsar, and Falling Star) attack the Shabaali ships in orbit, destroying several and driving the rest away.
Soon several Galactic fleets arrive, and begin fighting each other even as they all attempt to assert jurisdiction over the Earth. Metahumans join the battle, and most of the Galactics retreat. However, both the Shabaali and the Sebth keep returning, sometimes sending ground forces to attempt to secure a base on Earth. Each time they are driven away mostly thanks to Earth's metahumans.
Wars and conflicts on Earth diminish somewhat as everyone feels threatened by the common enemy of meddling "space humans."
Another major battle in Earth's solar system between the fleets of at least five different Galactic races. Once again Galactics try to land on Earth, and metahumans destroy them or force them to retreat.
The Galactics sign a treaty amongst themselves, and then send envoys to the United Nations to sign the Non-Intervention Treaty. They agree that Earth's solar system will remain autonomous and free of Galactic control. The UN offers an embassy on Earth, but the Galactics choose to maintain stations on Titan and Europa instead.
The space race is revitalized on Earth. With metahuman help, the United States, the EU, and China all begin projects to put large space stations in orbit within three years, and there are various plans to put manned bases on the Moon and/or Mars within ten years.
The United States officially creates the Bureau of Metahuman Affairs, which had previously been a shadowy agency that was the subject of political wrangling as both the the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice wanted control over "America's metahumans." The BMA is organized under the DoJ.
Other countries are also becoming more organized in their response to metahumans. Many are offering extensive training programs and enticements to any metahuman who agrees to serve their country, in any capacity. Corporations are also hiring metahumans for exhorbitant salaries.
The United Nations establishes Project Unity, an international organization dedicated to researching metahuman powers, and also employing metahumans for peacekeeping and relief efforts around the world.
Unity Teams begin to be stationed around the world. Some countries, including the United States and China, refuse to permit Unity Teams in their territory. The U.S. instead organizes BMA field offices with metahumans assigned to law enforcement and investigative duties.
There are seven "Unity Teams" by the end of the year:
Paladin vs. X: Paladin battles a sadistic and powerful metahuman known only as X. X is nearly as strong as Paladin, and seemingly just as invulnerable. Their first fight ends in a stalemate in Atlanta, Georgia, and leaves much of the city devastated. X gets away. A week later, X goes on a rampage in Tokyo, tearing the city apart and killing thousands before Unity 3 arrives. X thrashes the UN team, killing or maiming every one of them. Paladin (who had been performing a contract job in South America), arrives hours later, after Tokyo has been nearly flattened.
The rematch between Paladin and X rages across half of Japan. In the end, Paladin finally breaks X's neck, but over 160,000 people died and Japan takes almost two decades to recover from the economic damage.
Project Unity announces its first major success, as a cure for breast cancer is discovered, with metahuman help.
9/11 does not happen -- government metahumans working for the BMA ground the planes before they crash, with only six passengers killed, and four of the terrorists.
Three more Unity teams are established, in Vancouver, Stockholm, and Seoul.
Paladin creates the Paladin Foundation, and begins working almost entirely for charity.
The United States puts Skywatch-1 into orbit, the largest space station ever, with a crew of 30, with help from Paladin.
Unity 2 has ended most of the fighting in Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan. Project Unity begins terraforming the Ethiopian highlands.
Paladin starts speaking regularly both to the United States Congress and the U.N., urging countries to do more to relieve third-world poverty. The Paladin Foundation is generating hundreds of millions of dollars a year (largely as a direct result of Paladin's efforts). Paladin has the Foundation mostly funding habitat restoration and poverty relief.
The EU puts its own space station into orbit. China is still behind schedule.
The Karachi Blast. War breaks out between India and Pakistan. India has dozens of metahumans. Muslim metas from around the Arab world flood to Pakistan to help that country. Both sides are inflicting massive military and civilian casualties, while threatening to begin using nuclear weapons. During a major confrontation between metas in Karachi, an atomic blast levels that city, killing tens of thousands, including at least twenty metas. To this day, India and Pakistan both accuse the other of detonating an atomic warhead, though a great deal of evidence points to the incident actually being the work of either Chinese or North Korean agents.
Paladin ends the Pakistan-India War by dropping an asteroid in the Red Sea, and threatening to begin dropping more on both sides.
China launches its space station, amidst civil disorder at home, as pro-democracy Chinese metahumans are stirring unrest, and occasionally engaging in battles with government-sponsored metahumans.
Project Unity announces a cure for prostate cancer.
Kamisama Buddhism gains popularity outside of Japan, where it began, but where it has now fallen into disfavor. Originally a union of Shinto and Buddhist beliefs, Kamisama Buddhists believe that metahumans are divine beings, though not necessarily enlightened ones. It is similar to several other splinter cults being influenced by metahuman "theology," such as the Church of the Imminent Eschaton and the Church of Christ Metahuman.
Several metahuman demonstration events are held at the 2004 Olympics.
Afghanistan. With U.N. authorization, Unity 1, 2, and 5, and several American metas, remove Saddam Hussein and the B'ath Party from power in Iraq in a bloodless coup. A week later, they move on the Taliban in Afghanistan, removing them from power, but with much more bloodshed. Muslim metahumans once again rally to defend an Islamic state under attack, and Afghanistan becomes an ongoing war zone for the next five years, with a steady flow of UN peacekeepers and Muslim "Fedayeen" both struggling to win the hearts and minds of "normals" in Afghanistan. While there is limited troop involvement by conventional militaries, the Afghanistan "Police Action" is often called in later years "The Metahuman Vietnam." Over 200 metahumans die in the conflict (along with about 10,000 non-metas).
The Paladin Foundation, in a joint effort with Project Unity, begins making significant progress in reclaiming the Amazon rainforests.
Efficient hydrogen fuel cell engines are released. They are cheaper and more powerful than internal combustion engines, and almost pollution-free. The first "H-cell" cars are on the market by the end of the year.
The H-cell also makes spacecraft much more viable, as they can now carry more capacity for power generation with much less mass. Space programs are greatly accelerated.
An AIDS vaccine is developed.
Lucretia vs. The Beast. Legion had "stolen" the drugged and incapacitated body of Lucy Golden, aka "Lucretia," years earlier. In New York City, Legion attempted to capture The Beast while he was in his "human" form, using Lucretia's form. The Beast turned out to have a metahuman "disrupting" ability, which was why so many other metahumans had failed to find or capture him. In the fight, Legion's hold on Lucretia was broken, and she and the Beast tore up several blocks of Manhattan before airstrikes and other metahumans finally subdued them. Both were taken into custody by the federal government.
The Chinese Civil War. Led by pro-democracy metahumans, millions of Chinese rise up demanding greater freedom. The government responds in typical Chinese fashion, by sending the army to slaughter thousands of civilians. Metahumans battle, and Paladin makes the mistake of getting involved, causing both sides to turn on him, and according to some, exacerbating the situation.
The United States sends a manned flight to the Moon, the first in decades. They set up a temporary station capable of being resupplied and supporting a crew of 10 for several months, before returning.
The Chinese government does not topple, so much as rearrange itself. Several metahumans become part of the government, and order is restored. It is revealed that a metahuman who was highly ranked in Taiwan's government assisted in organizing the initial "revolt." The United Chinese Republic is formed, with Taiwan agreeing to join the Republic within five years.
North Korea's government falls. There are some clashes along the DMZ, but Chinese and South Korean metahumans prevent a major military conflict from breaking out. However, the UCR clearly wants to absorb North Korea into its own territory. Although the Korean people are able to move back and forth across the border for the first time in almost 60 years, tensions mount between South Korea and its U.S. allies, and China.
Proteus publishes the "Null Manifesto," thus becoming the founder and unofficial leader of the Teragens movement.
The Counterevolution Conspiracy
An improbable but very real global conspiracy is exposed. It turns out to be an interlocking network of conspiracies, sometimes working at cross-purposes, but still towards the same end: the control and/or reduction of the metahuman population. Many of Project Unity's chief administrators are involved, as well as the director of the Bureau of Metahuman Affairs, a large number of government, U.N., and corporate officials, and even some metahuman members of the Unity Teams themselves.
"Project Counterevolution" was actually the unofficial codename used by the American branch of "the Conspiracy," but it stuck.
Although many of those involved were simply acting to maintain "order" (and the AB Team had mostly acted against truly malevolent and dangerous metas), it turned out that many of the world's wealthy elites had been involved in such conspiracies simply because they feared and resented metahumans. They resented the fact that any Third World peasant could be born with more power than the scion of a corporate dynasty or ancient aristocratic family could ever dream of, and then pass that power on to every one of his or her squalling offspring. They feared that metahumans would actually change the world order in their efforts to eliminate poverty, pollution, environmental devastation, and wars. (Paladin was a major cause of this fear -- though he denied being a socialist, he frequently made scathing remarks about the wealthy and powerful, and the Paladin Foundation's motto was, and is, "You Are Your Brother's Keeper.")
Needless to say, public and metahuman faith in many of the world's institutions was badly shaken. After all the good Project Unity had done, most metahumans saw them as betrayers. Many corporate headquarters and government buildings were flattened by their enraged former agents. The Teragens movement gained many converts. Project Unity lost its UN sanction and became a private NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), a virtually dead one for several years.
In the wake of the revelations about "Project Counterevolution," several goverments fell, some bloodlessly, and some very violently. South Korea had been a major backer of Project Unity, and Unity 9 in Seoul abandoned the country. The United Chinese Republic absorbed a "unified" Korea as an "Independent Territory," much like Hong Kong.
In Africa, bloody riots, coups, and civil wars erupted throughout the continent. In Addis Ababa, the Unity Team actually stayed and fought to preserve the peace in eastern Africa, largely succeeding.
In the United States, most BMA metahumans quit and went into hiding or simply became independents, but a few were convinced that "Project Counterevolution" had been a few rotten apples but not the entire United States government.
In South America, Unity 4 decided to stage a coup of their own, and took over Brazil, and then began moving against neighboring countries, gleefully encouraged by the Terragens. Civil wars and metahuman power struggles continued in South America for several years.
Most space programs had been put on hold. Paladin had never been involved with the Conspiracy, and the Paladin Foundation appeared to be relatively clean of involvement as well. He intervened a little in South America to prevent the worst metahuman atrocities, and meanwhile helped the United States get its first Lunar colony launched. The U.S. set up the first permanent extraterrestrial settlement, with a crew of 30 rotating every three months.
The U.N. began to reassert some authority, but could find few metahumans willing to work with any government any more. Unity 1 in Brussels and Unity 2 in Addis Ababa were the only teams still willing to take orders from the U.N., and even they were now mistrustful. Paladin was approached and asked to merge the Paladin Foundation with Project Unity, but he refused.
Metahumans began forming their own exclusive societies, and even schools, hospitals, and communities.
Cold fusion is finally a reality. Between this and H-cells, as well as satellites for beamed solar power being developed, most of the world's energy can now be generated pollution-free.
The World Council on Human Affairs brings together what had previously been a large number of anti-metahuman splinter organizations. They have a veneer of respectability, expressing "concern" about the status of metahumans and the ability to control metahuman violence, and repudiating violence or discrimination against metas. However, many local branches are involved in agitating against metahuman rights.
Fidel Castro dies. Cuban communists try to maintain power, but a reformist movement sweeps the country. Later it is learned that the reformist movement was backed by a cadre of metahumans, and then it is learned that these metahumans are members of the Teragens movement. Even so, Cuba welcomes the metahumans, who promise to rebuild the island and provide prosperity and self-sufficiency independent of the U.S.
In a surprise early launch, the EU beats the U.S. in sending the first self-sufficient manned flight to Mars. (Astronauts have actually been to Mars previously, but they were carried by spaceworthy metahumans.)
The French Devastation. The Chinese space station is sabotaged by unknown-to-this-day metahumans. It falls to the Earth. Paladin refuses to help, making some dirogatory remarks about the Chinese government. He was told that everyone on board the station was already dead, and that it would fall into the Atlantic Ocean. Instead, it fell on France. Much of France is devastated as the Chinese power plant spills radiation over Western Europe. Several energy-absorbing metahumans are able to limit the damage, but the French suffer from radiation poisoning and birth defects for decades.
The U.N. and the U.S. both realize that they have been relying too heavily on a handful of powerful metahumans such as Paladin to "save the day" when something catostrophic happens.
The Earth's environment is greatly improved (with exceptions like France). Habitats are being restored, the ozone layer is recovering, and worldwide pollution has dropped to a tiny fraction of what it was a few years ago. Earth First!, previously a radical environmental group, starts shifting its focus and becomes more of a radical socialist movement with anti-metahuman and anti-Galactic overtones.
The U.S. launches its own Mars mission, this one equipped to stay. Burroughs Base is established.
Gene therapy to treat genetic disorders, potentially capable of curing all sorts of congenital conditions, shows success in early experiments.
Galactics begin visiting Earth more often (usually on official diplomatic missions, but there are rumors of occasional unannounced "flybys").
The Church of Christ Metahuman establishes its new headquarters at a huge temple in Mexico City, sparking protests from Catholics. The CoCM is based on Christian theology, but claims that the Son of God was a metahuman, that when the Messiah returns, He will come from space (i.e., he will be a Galactic), and that both the Galactics and metahumans are heralds of either God or Satan (and that all metahumans who do not openly affiliate themselves with God are servants of the Devil). Although still considered a splinter cult, a growing number of metahumans are joining the new church.
The Surge. A Japanese cyberkinetic unleashes an electrical surge accompanied by a self-replicating virus that virtually destroys the Internet. Trillions of dollars are "lost" and the economies of several countries are ruined. Australia and large parts of South America are among the heaviest hit, as they had enthusiastically begun putting their entire financial infrastructure online, but without sufficient backups. France is also ruined, and still recovering from the devasation of 2012, is virtually reduced to Third World status. Only intervention by many metahumans (and billions of dollars in aid from the Paladin Foundation) keeps the entire world from sinking into a global depression.
Palestine is granted independent statehood, as cheap, efficient desalinization plants deployed throughout the Middle East have ended the prospect of water wars.
In one of its first efforts since being virtually dissolved in 2008, Project Unity backs the rebuilding of the Internet with pure optical fibers and multiple defensive nodes with failsafe disconnectors, and the aid of several cyberkinetics. The "new" Internet is called the OpNet.
The first fusion-powered spacecraft are built.
The Stellar Parthenon is founded in Colorado. It is the world's first metahumans-only private academy and boarding school. It is promptly sued for discrimination, and a year later they move it to Cuba.
Most of sub-Saharan Africa unites to form a new country, the United African States, now geographically the largest nation in the world. South Africa and a few "pocket nations" still ruled by dictators (some of them metahuman) refuse to join the UAS.
Olympus is a growing multinational Lunar base. The first commercial flights to Olympus begin. Several metahumans with Teragens affiliations build a meta-only colony called Mons Aries on the dark side of the Moon.
Republican William Baines becomes the first African-American U.S. President. He serves two terms.
Icarus II -- The first interstellar spaceship, designed by the metahuman genius Daedalus, is sent on a journey to Alpha Centauri and back. It uses a combination of ramscoop/ion drive technology, fusion power, and Orion drives for boost and course corrections. Scheduled to take approximately 30 years, it is also intended to test the limits of several teleporting metahumans who can carry people and supplies between the ship and Earth (at least until it leaves the solar system), and long-range telepathic communication. Many criticize the project, pointing out that the Galactics, who are watching with interest, already occupy all the nearby star systems, and that launching the Icarus is rather like sending a sailing ship to circumnavigate the globe while a more advanced society flies supersonic jets overhead.
The OpNet has replaced over 90% of the old Internet. Only a few holdout countries like Australia are delaying to upgrade -- Australia is becoming more isolationist, and also strongly anti-U.N. and anti-metahuman.
Selene Olympia Halkiopoulos is the first baby born on the Moon (and the first Terran born off-planet).
North American Open Borders Treaty signed. Canada, the United States, and Mexico agree to allow virtually unrestricted freedom of movement across their borders, and grant each others' citizens the right to live and work anywhere on the continent. As part of this treaty, law enforcement and military defense is coordinated to an enormous degree; all three countries still maintain separate militaries and law enforcement agencies, but they act jointly and inter-jurisdictionally. Some people begin referring to "The United States of North America," though Canada and Mexico do remain separate countries.
Most Persian Gulf states are falling into deep recession as oil becomes increasingly unimportant. Saudi Arabia's monarchy is preserved only by ruthless suppression and the support of several powerful metas. Iran seems on the verge of a civil war.
The Varaya Shakti Movement, an attempt to syncretize Hinduism and Buddhism, and which also incorporates elements of Kamisama Buddhism and Zoroastrianism, gains millions of converts in India. Among the tenets of Varaya Shakti is the divinity of all metahumans, that the entire human race should become metahuman, and that metahumans should have as many children as possible to populate the world with more metas.
Olympus now has a population of over 2,000 permanent residents. Regular (but very expensive) flights from Earth to the Moon begin. Still technically under U.N. jurisdiction, Olympus is seeing potential both for mining operations and high-priced, novel vacations for the very rich.
The first genetically recovered species is released into the wild -- Passenger Pigeons are no longer extinct.
Several Iranian cities erupt in riots or open rebellion, requiring suppression by the military. An Iranian journalist named Azad Pezek becomes the leader of a peaceful pro-democracy movement in Iran.
The first non-terrestrial orbiting spacestation is launched towards Venus. The U.S., China, and (in their first entry into space exploration) the U.A.S. all begin building L-5 stations.
The Bahrain Coup/Gulf Uprising. Metahumans lead a revolt in Bahrain, and catalyze uprisings throughout the Persian Gulf. The Saudi royal family is assassinated by fundamentalist Muslims, who then start a war with the reformist movements taking power in Bahrain, Yemen, Qatar, and Syria.
Azad Pezek helps negotiate a peaceful end to the brewing Iranian civil war. He refuses public demands for him to assume the role of Prime Minister, and returns to writing.
Varaya Shakti centers open throughout Europe and North America.
A space battle is observed beyond the orbit of Neptune. The Galactic envoys to Earth refuse to comment.
Evening Star Station (but dubbed "Peralandra" by the crew) parks in permanent orbit over Venus, with a crew of 25.
Azad Pezek wins the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Prize for Journalism for his account of the Second Iranian Revolution. Unexpectedly, the Galactics choose him as an envoy from Earth, inviting him on a tour of "Human Space."
Scientists believe they can restore any extinct species, including dinosaurs. "Jurassic Park" habitats are discussed.
Saudi Arabia becomes simply Arabia al-Islam ("Islamic Arabia"). All metahumans, with the exception of those backing the current government, are expelled.
Burroughs Base on Mars is designated a "colony," and begins recruiting permanent residents from Earth. By the end of the year it has a population of 1200.
The U.A.S. is the first to complete their L5 station (High Nyumba), with help from African metahumans.
The Tibetan Shield. A new "class A" (or possibly AA) metahuman in Tibet leads another movement to free Tibet from Chinese control. Most Chinese soldiers in Tibet are killed or expelled, and before the Chinese army or its metahumans can counterattack, Tibet is engulfed in an impenetrable force field. The field appears to be permanent -- only through teleportation can anything or anyone enter or leave the country. All electromagnetic radiation is blocked as well, which means Tibet is for the most part sealed from the outside world.
Deja Anne Miller is the first baby born on Mars.
The U.S. and China both complete their L5 stations (Glenn Station and Khantze Lu Ge -- "Castle in the Sky," respectively). Several smaller countries are now attempting to launch their own.
Burroughs Colony exceeds Olympus in size, with populations of 6000 and 5500, respectively.
Azad Pezek returns from his three-year tour of the galaxy, and writes "No Need for Earth," a book that warns that Terrans are not ready to interact with their more advanced kin, and that the Galactics see metahumans as a severe threat to Galactic society. He is accused of being "isolationist," "Luddite," and "anti-metahuman," all of which he denies.
A psychologically unstable metahuman rumored to be a Teragen assassinates Azad Pezek, elevating him to near-saint status in Iran, and causing an anti-metahuman backlash there. Metahumans had been very popular in the newly liberated Iran, and there is a great deal of unrest and resentment among both normals and metas. The Shabaali, in one of their few public statements to Earth, express sadness at Pezek's death, with an implication that it proves his views were correct.
Metahumans are becoming more polarized among Teragens sympathizers and those who reject the notion that metas are anything more than humans with super powers.
Elective genetic engineering is becomimg available, though it is still very expensive. Mostly it allows people to change their metabolism for medical reasons, acquire superficial changes in appearance (blue skin, cat-like eyes), etc. There are rumors of more exotic modifications such as gills or chameleon skin, but most geneticists claim that such radical transformations are too dangerous and unlikely to work.
The first scientific outpost on Mercury lasts three weeks before a systems failure results in the death of the seven crewmembers.
Tehran is devastated by an earthquake, which is blamed on metahumans, though no metahuman takes credit for it and geologists say there is no evidence that it was not natural. Iranian society begins polarizing between the pro-metahuman older generation, and the more conservative younger generation which is beginning to think that maybe the rule of the Mullahs was not so bad.
Oxford opens a branch on Olympus, making it the first offworld university.
"Quarxon", the first metahuman confirmed to be capable of traveling faster than light, travels to several nearby star systems, upsetting the Galactics. He returns and claims that the starbases and cities he saw in nearby star systems seemed awfully militarized. The Galactics point out that Earth is still on the border of Shabaali and Sebth space, and despite the crrent peace, the Shabaali and Sebth remain antagonistic towards one another. Quarxon was unable to intercept the Icarus II, as he did not have the necessary enhanced senses to find a ship in the vastness of interstellar space.
A second colony, Podkayne, is begun on Mars.
The 2028 World Cup in Paris results in riots, led by metahumans, that practically tear the city apart. "French luck" is becoming a common term for someone who is constantly getting kicked when he's down.
A new Mercury mission is launched, and Hermes Base begins operations a few weeks later.
The U.A.S. claims that South Africa has been conducting metahuman espionage against them. South Africa denies the claim. Relations between the two countries are tense, and several border skirmishes occur.
Sorin Lagrange Esperanza is the first baby born on an L5 station.
Jerusalem Explodes. A powerful new "Class A" metahuman with the power to convert matter into pure energy is unable to control his powers. They trigger a chain reaction which turns Jerusalem into a crater, killing half a million people.
Earth's metahuman population is estimated at 15,000, having more than doubled in the last 35 years (including 13 years during which very few metahumans produced offspring). The first generation of "Shakti babies" is beginning to manifest powers.
Over a period of four months, a new L5 station, Fasalt (named after a prominent metahuman scientist) is built entirely by metahumans belonging to the Teragens movement. All metahumans (and only metahumans) are welcome on Fasalt.
Celia Blue marries Daedalus. The wedding of two of the world's greatest metahuman geniuses is a major media event. They set off for the Moon on their honeymoon, traveling in a ship the two of them designed. They never arrive at Olympus, their intended destination, and psychics and telepaths are unable to locate them.
The population on the Moon is 18,000, and Mars is 25,000. Approximately 15,000 people live among the various L5 stations.
China's L5 station fires on a Teragens metahuman who passed too close to it. Several Teragens retaliate a few weeks later by striking back at the station and causing hull breaches that kill over a hundred people, before Chinese metahumans arrive to drive them away. The URC begins taking a much more hardline stance against any metahumans with suspected Teragens sympathies, and pushes other countries to outlaw the Teragens movement.
India legalizes prenatal genetic engineering, which is illegal almost everywhere else in the world.
New Democrat Gina Kennedy Doyle becomes the first female U.S. President. She serves only one term.
Telepaths confirm that the Icarus II has reached the Alpha Centauri system, after a 16-year journey. The Galactics also break their policy of refusing to assist or provide technology to Terrans, and confirm that the Earth ship has arrived safely (and is being permitted to explore the star system by the Shabaali, who occupy it).
There are rumors that Celia Blue and Daedalus have been seen in the Teragens colony of Mons Aries. It is assumed they must be prisoners if the rumors are true, since both of them were vehemently opposed to the Teragens' philosophy. The Teragens deny they are holding the two prisoner (but neither confirm nor deny that they are at Mons Aries).
The Southeast Asian War erupts into the first major conflict in over a decade, after people were beginning to believe that major wars were a thing of the past. Vietnam and Cambodia go to war with Thailand, China sides with Vietnam, and Thailand receives support from the United States and the EU, making it something of a proxy war reminiscient of the previous century. The war is notable because all participants actually adhere to an agreement not to use metahumans in the conflict, though Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand all have metahumans who want to get involved.
The war eventually involves Indonesia and Malaysia, who are officially neutral but unofficially support Thailand, causing internal strife as both countries have large Chinese populations. A previously unknown Class AA metahuman in the Philippines uses awesome powers of matter and energy control to keep any warships or aircraft belonging to the combatants from coming near the Philippine islands.
A team of metahumans, supposedly acting alone, invades Mons Aries to "rescue" Daedalus and Celia Blue. The battle on the Moon is seen from Earth. The invading metahumans are repelled with heavy casualties, in large part thanks to a rare intervention by Pulsar on behalf of the Teragens colony. The surviving strike team brings back no evidence that Daedalus or Celia Blue were actually on the Moon.
Thailand and Vietnam/Cambodia sign a peace treaty, ending the Southeast Asian War. There was no clear winner, but over 100,000 people died. Still smarting from this dreadful conflict, no one is pleased by reports published by several think tanks (and metahuman analysts) claiming that metahuman involvement would have ended the war sooner with fewer casualties.
President Doyle is defeated for reelection in the U.S. by Republican Tyler Thomas.
Lisa Pei, the first confirmed "third-generation pure metahuman" (her parents and all four of her grandparents were all metahumans) is born. Oddly (and quite against the wishes of her family), she becomes something of a symbol to the entire metahuman community, who follows her development closely, waiting to see what sort of metahuman powers she will manifest.
Proteus publishes a follow-up to his Null Manifesto, this time urging a complete separation of metahumans from humans. Debate rages in the Teragens community -- some advocate establishing "metahuman zones" on Earth, others want all metahumans to relocate to an offworld colony, others suggest traveling to another star system (and kicking any Galactics out of it if need be), and the most radical suggest kicking all the humans off of Earth.
Teragens incidents are on the rise, as the radical faction of the Teragens movement acts more openly to defy human authorities.
The world's population reaches 8 billion. Almost no one is starving, and pollution is still decreasing.
A growing number of the children of the wealthy clsses (and to a lesser extent the middle class) are "genegineered." Even in countries where it is illegal (which is still most of them), there are underground clinics, and those with money can simply travel to India. Genegineered children tend to be physically and mentally superior to "natural" children, and there is a growing clamor for prenatal genetic engineering to be made legal. Catastrophes are rare, but some of the underground clinics do less than meticulous work, resulting in a tiny percentage of horrible birth defects, which are widely publicized.
There is no evidence that genegineered children or more or less likely to become metahumans.
Australia-Philippine War. Provoked (some say "engineered") by Teragens metahumans in both countries, Australia and the Philippines get into a brief shooting conflict. The godlike Philippine metahuman (codenamed "Archmage") who last demonstrated his powers during the Southeast Asian War ends the conflict by disabling all naval and aircraft belonging to both sides, and threatening more drastic action if they do not sign a treaty.
Mexico legalizes prenatal genetic engineering, provoking riots throughout the country, as Catholics are extremely opposed to it (but members of the Church of Christ Metahuman are in favor). The United States threatens to cancel the North American Open Borders Treaty. This does not happen, but relations between the U.S. and Mexico sour.
President Tyler Thomas is reelected, despite facing an almost unheard-of bitter primary challenge. The more conservative wing of the GOP wants him to take a stronger anti-metahuman and anti-genetic engineering position.
With help from Graviton, a Class AA metahuman with nearly infinite powers over gravity, the first artificial gravity generators are manufactured. All extraterrestrial habitats become much more viable for long-term occupation.
Metahumans attempt to assassinate President Thomas, and are barely prevented from doing so by his metahuman Secret Service agents. The U.S. shifts in a more conservative direction, and anti-metahuman sentiment is becoming more popular, as is opposition to genetic engineering. A prominent geneticist warns that genetic engineering will become more prevalent, that the human race is changing and evolving in "real-time," and that Americans risk becoming "genetically retarded" compared to the rest of the world.
Teragens create the Aerie, in Colorado's Rocky Mountains, declaring themselves to be an "autonomous human-free zone." They occupy uninhabited and mostly uninhabitable terrain, so their gesture is largely symbolic, but it has the desired effect, as the U.S. government surrounds the area with tanks and Special Forces. President Tyler is convinced not to attack, but the Aerie remains under constant surveillance.
The U.A.S., with UN backing, puts a base on Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede, called Kiremte. The Shabaali on Europa object, but the UN pointedly remind them that they are guests in this solar system and have no claim to Jupiter or its moons.
The United States conducts more extensive surveys of Saturn, with an eye towards putting a colony of their own on Tethys. The Sebth outpost on Titan sends ships which continually dog the American probes. Since Galactic technology is quite capable of monitoring any ships in the solar system from their own base, it is assumed that the Sebth are trying to not-so-subtly intimidate the Terrans.
The first genegineered metahuman child is confirmed, but there is no evidence that his becoming metahuman was anything more than coincidence.
A theoretical design for a hyperdrive is published.
Tyler Thomas' Vice President, Helen Colmes, is elected President. She is more conservative than Thomas, but not anti-metahuman. She promises to have the "Rocky Mountain squatters" evicted from the Aerie.
The United States and China are both building the first FTL starships, scheduled to be launched next year.