And not “The Soviet Union” before some comedian gets that in first.
Inspired by a re-viewing of Watchmen last night (which I liked a lot better the second time round for some reason) and a fun online story-universe I read a long time ago I thought this would be an interesting thread.
Basic premise is that by Power of Plot at some point in the near future the entire adult population of the world simultaneously discovers that they have access to classic comic-book superpowers (as well as any other abilities you fancy the sound of, referred to as Powers from now on, suitably portentous).
Ground rules are that although the new abilities are outside our current understanding of physics they also have certain limitations. A top level telekinetic can lift a car with their mind for example but no crushing it into a singularity, or a teleporter can only travel ‘line of sight’, or someone with superspeed can run at several hundred miles per hour but only for a short time, someone with shapeshifting is limited to roughly their starting mass…you get the idea, powerful but limited and with no stand-out individuals, the upper limits of abilities are something several hundred people worldwide have for example.
One of the most useful Powers depicted in the story-universe mentioned above was Nullification, where an individual had the ability to cancel any Powers in their vicinity, or Nullify an object so that for a certain period of time other Powers couldn’t affect it. I imagine that would be a lucrative ability to have but not very entertaining (unless you turn off other peoples Powers at an inopportune moment of course).
Powers come online at puberty (yeah, as if that wasn’t difficult enough!) so its an ongoing part of the new world situation. Which is an interesting question in itself, what would such a world look like, would it cause a fundemental change in society or would the world shrug its collective shoulders and after a few months of difficulties simply accept the new situation and get on with it? How difficult would it be to deal with criminals or terrorists with such abilities? What new career opportunities would arise or cause a reassessment of old ones. Again, one of the Powers mentioned was the ability to determine another persons Powers simply by being near them, I imagine that would be another highly sought ability in certain areas.
Assuming that you have any choice in the matter what Power would you want to have and why? You can only have one Power, no building up a set of them.
How do you envisage your Power functioning, what are its strengths and limitations and what would you do with it.
While I’d be sorely tempted to go for shape-shifting as it would be a lot of fun I think I’d have to chose telepathy (as often as telekinesis is often depicted as a twofer with that superpower I’m going to have to stick to my own ground rules)
While it wouldn’t be as much fun as some of the other Powers I think telepathy would be one of the most versatile and useful to have. It would be limited to the ability to ‘read’ another persons mind (one person at a time) and extract information from it or ‘write’ information to it, pretty much the classic depiction of telepathy.
Despite its obvious potential for misuse, being the boringly moral person that I try to be I think I’d mostly use it for legitimate purposes, I can see many organisations (private or governmental) being interested in someone who could read the minds of others, for example in law-enforcement interviewing people or determining the mental state of a defendant, or for a psychologist to directly determine the issues their clients may have.
Being an anti-telepath telepath fighting the good fight against other telepaths using their abilities for nefarious purposes would be interesting (if dangerous) as well.
What can I say, I am a Hero after all…
I imagine some of the more exotic and useful Powers would be something most governments would be interested in having control over.
So that’s what I’d go for, anyone else? Colourful spandex costumes very much not mandatory.
btw I realise that only one character in Watchmen had actual superpowers before someone mentions that!