High Concept: “Heroes” on a timeline… and much, much bigger.
Genre: Millennial neo-superheroism
Overview: The rise of the Fifth World did not happen on schedule, but it did happen according to plan.
On September 10, 2010 at 1:23 a.m. GMT, fifty-five mile-wide, intricately-inlaid metal spheres appeared in the lower atmosphere, floating above cities, small towns and isolated villages across the world.
The Patrons had arrived.
One hour later, the sky darkened around the spheres as each one ejected vast clouds made up of millions of spheres. The softball-sized spheres flew to Earth and began their appointed task: upgrading humanity.
Every one of the people contacted and altered by the Patrons were alone at 2:34 a.m. GMT. Aside from that, these “Clients” represented a perfect cross-section of humanity
At the moment of their transformation, each of the Clients repeated the same phrase, their eyes briefly becoming silvery, intricately-inlaid orbs:
“Two thousand, six hundred and eighty-three.”
And, with that, the Patrons disappeared.
Precisely three percent of the Earth’s population were altered within that half hour. Some were granted strength, speed or endurance that exceeded human potential, while others reeled as their newly-enhanced intellects revealed a wider, stranger world than they could have realized. Some were given power over energy or the elements, while some became immutable, invulnerable to harm and capable of near-instant regeneration. In time, the Clients began to identify bonds between themselves independent of their backgrounds or abilities. They began to act, often independently, with increasing boldness.
They also learned about the Countdown. The first time a Client used his gifts, every Client simultaneously said “two thousand, six hundred and eighty-two.” The count continued, identifying random things… the first time a Client fell asleep, woke up or digested food were marked early on, as was the first time a Client was identified by a non-Client and the first extravehicular moon landing. The count slowed but remained a constant as the post-Patronage world moved forward.
One year later, the world has grown increasingly complex. Some Clients live quietly, hiding themselves and their power, while others battle in the streets like comic book superheroes, representing their nations, their creeds or their silent Patrons. Through it all, the count continues.
A Client perfected room-temperature fusion yesterday. The count is now at 526.
No one knows what will happen when the count reaches zero.