Dawn of an Age

In the year 1998, just before the dawn of a new millenium, our world was changed forever.

The space station Galatea exploded for reasons unknown while a world watched in horror. New radioisotopes rained down upon the Earth's upper atmosphere, but despite prohpecies of doom, the environment survived unscathed. The same cannot be said for Humanity.

Only a short time later, fantastic events begane occuring around the world. The first known eruption occured in New York. A crew of firefighters were attempting to save a group of schoolchildren caught in a flaming bus. One of the firemen, Randel Portman, fell to his knees screaming, clutching his head. Suddenly the flames around the bus rose up in a column, like a snake answering the call of a charmer. The flames then rushed down on the screaming Randel Portman, but instead of incinerating him they seems to be absorbed. Witnesses claim that after the fire was gone, Mr. Portman was still on his knees amid a pool of melted asphalt.

All around the world similar events were taking place. The term eruption came into popular usage to describe the sudden manifestation of strange powers by formerly ordinary citizens. Governments scrambled to deal with the phenomenon. International relations became tense, with the US going to DEFCON 3. Other nations responded in kind. Emergency sessions of the UN were called. The first use of the word NOVA to describe these individuals was used in the media, based on the scientists' unofficial classification of the newly erupted as Homo sapiens novus.



April 12: The Aeon Society, an international philanthropic organization dating back to the League of Nations, initiates a dialog with the UN offering to seek out and study novas.

May 1: The Aeon Society publicly announces its UN support and issues an invitation to open dialog with any interested novas. The UN works behind the scenes to calm and reassure the world that Aeon can handle the nova outbreak.

June 30: The UN overwhelmingly passes the Zurich Accord, a document declaring novas to be human beings, with all the rights and responsibilities thereof. A few fundamentalist Islamic nations and dictatorial regimes, all countries with poor human-rights records, protest the resolution.

August 13: Project Utopia, a multipurpose private foundation, is formed under the guidance of both the UN and the Aeon Society. Project Utopia's stated goals are to study the nova phenomenon and utilize novas' abilities to better the quality of life on Earth for all its inhabitants. Membership and training are open to all interested novas. under the direction of Drs. Henri Mazarin and Farah Rashoud.

October: First use of the term baseline to refer to humans without an M-R node.

December 4: Dr. Henri Mazarin and Dr. Farah Rashoud release their findings on the discovery of a unique gland found in the brain of novas. The Mazarin-Rashoud (or M-R) node is believed to be the root of a nova's abilities. Novas officially dubbed subspecies Homo sapiens novus. An independent pharmaceutical research facility, the Triton Foundation, provides funding for Mazarin and Rashoud's research, and much of the other nova research over the next decade. A nova's powers are theorized to derive from manipulation of the basic forces of the universe, also sown as the quantum forces: gravity, electromagnetism, weak nuclear force and strong nuclear force. The M-R node allows the nova some degree of channeling and control over the quantum forces.

December 31: Aeon Society census reports approximately 600 known novas in the world population.

Inspired by the coming of the novas and fueled by millennialist anxiety, various apocalyptic and transcendentalist religious sects arise throughout 1998. Many of these groups see novas as the chosen of God or the ultimate development of humanity. The most notable of these is The Church of the Immanent Escheaton, founded by a charismatic nova styling himself Chrystian Kalpa. The Vatican does not release an official statement of position on the status of novas. Protestant sects and Judaism release statements of support for novas, with wording in line with that of the Zurich Accord. Fundamentalist Islamic sects decry novas as the Devil's children, but increasingly come into conflict with Sunni philosophy exalting novas as the chosen of Allah.

1999

January 1: In a media spectacle attended by former President Carter and the UN Secretary-General, Project Utopia introduces its Team Tomorrow, a group of novas from around the world organized to implement Project Utopia's goals of a better future. Team Tomorrow begins to combat global terrorism, organized crime and natural disasters with the cooperation of law-enforcement agencies worldwide. Utopia's fledgling Science and Technology Department begins working on solutions to famine and environmental crises.

January 8: Project Utopia opens the first Rashoud Facility in midtown Manhattan. The facility is intended to be a place where nascent novas can go to learn about and explore their powers in a controlled environment. Over the next decade, dozens of other Rashoud facilities open worldwide.

February 18: Boris Yeltsin dies, setting off a breakdown of the Russian government. The chaos leads to Russia's total economic collapse. Russia's financial woes spread through already weakened world markets, and cause the world's worst one-day market losses ever. The Moscow Crash, as it is later termed, plunges the world into a massive recession.

February 19: The World Bank responds immediately by calling for temporary freezes on all international loan payments. International currency markets close for the week due to pressure from the International Monetary Fund. Wall Street and other world trading centers voluntarily close trading for the rest of the week to allow a thorough assessment of the situation, and to allow the panic to calm. Many governments, including the US and the rest of the G7 nations, implement emergency price controls on consumer goods.

March 1: Project Utopia announces that its nova-employing research department is working on a solution to the economic crisis. It also offers the services of the novas associated with Utopia to the UN, and any government that asks, for relief work. The news leads to a slight upswing in world markets.

April 7: Microsoft becomes the first private company to hire a nova for public relations and research. Mungu Kuwasha is hired for his ability to interface with computer systems.

April 30: World unemployment rates quadruple in only two months. Philanthropic organizations worldwide follow the Aeon Society's lead in offering relief assistance. Project Utopia novas help with distribution of perishable supplies, creating the most efficient relief effort in history. Governments enlist nova aid in quelling food riots. Some novas use their abilities to keep basic utilities, such as water and electricity, flowing in areas where they would otherwise be inaccessible

The International Monetary Fund announces its inability to ameliorate the global financial crisis. The Japanese take the news especially poorly. The Nikkei Index loses 50% of its value overnight. Tokyo newspapers report over 2,000 suicides that night alone.

Acting on the advice of Project Utopia nova prognosticators, the UN unanimously passes a resolution to freeze exchange rates in the world currency market. The move causes massive inflation in the currency of developing nations, but leads to a gradual strengthening of the industrial powers' economies.

November 21: Japan announces Saisho, The New Beginning, a series of government subsidies designed to employ novas in high-tech industries. The Japanese government agrees to pay for companies to hire novas for research and development purposes, in hopes that new technologies will salvage Japan's economy. The project is a rousing success, and within a decade Japan regains its position as the premier developer of new technologies.

December 2: Project Utopia's Team Tomorrow announces it will be on call around the world to avert any problems that may come from the Y2K millennium bug. Prime-time television specials aired around the world show novas working with computer designers to prevent the problem, and teams of novas performing disaster-control drills.

December 31: Aeon Society census reports approximately 1350 known novas in the world population.

Novas continue to erupt throughout the year, despite falling levels of radiation from the Galatea explosion.

2000

January 1: The Year 2000 bug hits many of the world's computer systems, causing moderate problems. Power production, airline traffic control, Internet traffic and financial institution computers are the most affected. Utopia-affiliated novas race around the globe to restore (or, in some cases, generate) emergency power and direct what few planes are in the air. Most people notice only that the airlines and banks are shut down for a couple of days, and that Web pages and e-mail have glitches for a few weeks. Y2K becomes Utopia's biggest public relations windfall since the coming of the novas.

January 28: The Triton Foundation announces the first successful gene-therapy treatment for breast cancer. By 2006, this treatment, combined with childhood genetic screening, makes breast cancer a thing of the past.

February 1: Project Utopia announces, before the UN General Assembly, its intention to perform a worldwide environmental cleanup. The world press applauds the news, and various countries use the cleanup project as a core to create civil works programs to help alleviate the massive unemployment that has plagued them since 1999.

April 8: Fidel Castro dies. Cuba spends the following weeks in political turmoil. When the dust clears, a democratically elected president and legislative body take control of the government. Cuba's relations with the rest of the world normalize by July.

May 31: The first movie to feature nova actors opens to rave reviews. Steven Spielberg-directed Nova is the story of a young man who emerges as a nova, then dedicates his life to righting the wrongs of society. Various famous novas figure prominently in the cast. The movie breaks all previous sales records, staying in the top spot throughout the summer. Nova goes on to sweep the Academy Awards, winning a record 18 Oscars.

July 15: Second-quarter financial reports indicate worldwide economic improvement. The upswing marks the beginning of the largest sustained period of economic growth and prosperity in world history. The UN drops its freeze of the currency markets, and most nations of Western and Central Europe agree to the adoption of the euro currency, linking much of Europe into one economic entity. The United Kingdom declines entry into the European Union.

September 6: Project Utopia announces that it has successfully closed the hole in the ozone layer and introduced CFC-eating bacteria into the atmosphere to prevent continued damage. Project Utopia requests that all UN member states begin transporting toxic and radioactive waste to a collection facility in Siberia for future disposal.

November 3: Robert Schroer, a moderate Republican representative from Colorado, is elected President of the United States. Schroer begins the Republican nomination process as a virtual unknown; his plafform calls for continued economic reform and a return to so-called "common-sense" values. He wins a narrow victory in the general election over Al Gore, in which the Reform and Libertarian candidates also take sizable proportions of the vote. Following Schroer's win in the primaries, and escalating with his election, many of the Republican Party's far-right elements divorce themselves from the party to found splinter groups more appealing to their agendas.

December 31: With the Y2K problem and millennialist anxiety distant memories, the press realizes that 2001 is the actual beginning of the new millennium. This announcement inspires the largest New Year's celebrations in memory. Festivities include nova-produced energy releases in orbit that are visible around the world.

Aeon Society census reports approximately 1800 known novas in the world population.

2001

January 24: Project Utopia-mediated negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization open. The peace talks end with the signing of the London Peace Accord, which establishes a Palestinian state along the border of Israel and Egypt. Project Utopia agrees, as part of the Accord, to monitor the newly created order, although Israel is rumored to have almost a dozen novas under its direct control.

March 18: Project Utopia announces that bioremedial bacteria recently introduced in the world's oceans, along vith a large amount of physical cleanup, will restore the water quality of the world's oceans to pre-Industrial Revolution levels by 2006.

March 29: The Russian Confederation rises from the political and economic chaos caused by the Moscow Crash of 1999. Russia's downward spiral reverses, albeit slowly, thanks to nova economic savant and Minister of the Treasury, Vladimir Sierka. The reorganized Confederation consists of sovereign member states allied for purposes of economic strength and foreign relations. The Confederation has one currency, the ruble, and representatives of each member-state in the Confederation vote on all foreign trade decisions. The Confederation retains its seat on the UN Security Council, but the member states are represented individually in the General Assembly. In effect, the Confederation functions somewhat like a cross between the European Union and the United States of America. Belarus president Andrei Srebhanski is elected the first Confederation president. Although Srebrianski is officially president, rumors continue in the press that Minister Sierka is the true leader of the Confederation.

May-November: Brushfire wars sweep through sub-Saharan West Africa, as Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Sudan use Nova mercenaries, dubbed Elites by the press, to fight as proxies. While fewer Than a dozen elites die in the conflicts, hundreds of civilians are killed as collateral damage and the political borders of Africa are redrawn several times throughout the months of conflict. Team Tomorrow takes peacekeeping actions on behalf of the UN and finally negotiates a ceasefire. Press coverage of the conflicts becomes the highest-rated television event of the decade, so far. Various conspiracy theorists claim that the conflicts were instigated by the US and other major powers so they could see how effective novas were when used as military operatives.

The Equatorial Wars, as the fighting is later dubbed, prompt international negotiations concerning the use of novas in military applications. While the talks are never formalized, the UN and Project Utopia openly support discussion on the issue. International consensus falls short of banning the use of novas in the military, but it is generally agreed that due to the unpredictable nature of novas' powers, they should not be used against civilian or normal military targets unless in all-out war. Strategists and academics quickly devise a new school of military deterrent thought based around novas and formalize the idea of limited-scale conflicts fought by nova proxies. General acceptance of this idea as an economical alternative to certain types of conventional conflicts, leads to large numbers of elites being contracted by world governments in the following year.

May 21: The Triton Foundation announces a gene-therapy treatment for prostate cancer and a genetic screening process that predicts (with 94% accuracy) whether a person will develop any of the common forms of cancer.

June 10: Representatives of the United States, the Russian Confederation, the UK, and Japan meet in Moscow. They agree to form and sponsor a multinational intelligence agency, which they term The Directive. The Directive's primary mission is to monitor the activities of Project Utopia and the world's growing population of novas.

August 7: Anibal Buendia, a nova with the ability to reconfigure his cellular structure, creates the polymer derivative known as Eufiber. This material, which has the ability to bond with nova cell structure and channel and redirect quantum and bioenergies, becomes the most popular fashion accessory for novas and the wealthy. As a side effect, studies of eufiber enable the development of OpNet cable technology.

October: Project Utopia begins coordinating with law-enforcement and intelligence agencies from around the world (Interpol, FBI, Scotland Yard, Mossad) to combat organized crime and terrorism.

December 31: Aeon Society census reports approximately 2100 known novas in the world population.

2002

January 2002-early 2005: Much of the world's copper and fiber-optic cable communications networks are replaced with advanced optic cable derived from studies of Buendia eufiber and wireless networking. The new hardware, coupled with new data-transfer protocols, is dubbed OpNet. OpNet replaces the Internet, phone systems and cellular networks, allowing for wireless communications from virtually any location. It boasts an initial 700% increase in data speed over conventional telecommunications technology.

March 30: CNN breaks a sex scandal involving US president Schroer. The sordid scandal involves a six-year homosexual affair on the part of the President. Schroer gives a televised address that night and admits to the affair. Even with his immediate response, his approval ratings plummet.

August 12: Project Utopia gives its final report on the state of the environment to the UN General Assembly. Team Tomorrow combines physical cleanup with the introduction of the Zushima macrobe, a genetically engineered self-regulating organism that will regulate further pollution. The environment is in better shape than at any point in the last hundred years, and Project Utopia scientists estimate that a sustainable level of pre-Industrial Revolution air and water quality will be a reality by 2005.

September 15: India, China, and Pakistan face off over ownership of the Kashmir region. Quick intervention by Team Tomorrow prevents an all-out war, but several conflicts with govemment-sponsored novas and mercenary elites occur. Kashmir becomes a demilitarized zone under UN and Project Utopia surveillance.

November 21: The Viacom and Microsoft corporations announce their merger into an enormous corporate entity to be called ViaSoft.

December 4: A subway bombing in Tokyo brings world attention to Kamisama Buddhism, a hybrid of Shinto and Buddhist beliefs that is increasingly popular with Japanese youths. While Kamisama Buddhism professes nonviolence, the media play up the suspects' involvement with the sect. Three young fanatics are charged in the bombing, though the leader of the religion, nova guru Bodhisattva Masato, disavows any knowledge of the attack.

December 31: Aeon Society census reports approximately 2500 known novas in the world population.

2003

January 1: The N! channel debuts on cable and satellite systems in 47 countries. N!, a spinoff of the E! channel, is dedicated solely to covering the lives and exploits of novas. It features biographies of famous novas, quasi-scientific documentaries on nova abilities and physiology, nova sporting competitions, interviews with novas and nova-related news from around the world. Within three months of its initial airing, N! becomes the highest-rated channel ever.

March 9: Team Tomorrow stages a dramatic rescue of the space shuttle Discovery after a sizable meteor strikes the shuttle, knocking it off course and igniting an oxygen tank. The entire crew survives the rescue. This event marks the point at which governments begin to consider novas for space operations and exploration.

May 6: Project Utopia announces plans to terraform the Ethiopian Highlands. The project, a cooperative endeavor between Project Utopia, the UN and the Ethiopian government, marks the first attempt at engineering widespread geographical and environmental changes throughout a region.

September 25: A terrorist organization sets off an explosion utilizing primitive fusion technology. Over 30 city blocks are leveled, and thousands die. Team Tomorrow Americas arrives immediately to supply humanitarian aid and assist in the criminal investigation. Despite repeated reports of nova involvement in the bombing, no one has been charged to date. The Sao Paolo bombing is the most expensive terrorist attack in history, causing an estimated $20 billion in damages.

The Triton Foundation announces the discovery of an AIDS vaccine. The World Health Organization declares October 7th Red Ribbon Day and, with the help of national and local health organizations, vaccinates 90% of the world population over the next three months.

December 10: Henri Mazarin and Farah Rashoud receive the Nobel Prize in biology for their pioneering research into nova physiology and the discovery of the M-R node.

December 31: Aeon Society census reports approximately 2800 known novas in the world population.

2004

February 19: The Triton Foundation announces an advanced gene-therapy treatment that fights most known forms of cancer.

May 1: The World Health Organization approves a host of new genetic engineering techniques, many of which were developed in conjunction with the Triton Foundation over the past few years. Most national food inspection organizations (such as the Food and Drug Administration in the US) copy this move, marking the first widespread international use of genetic engineering for livestock and crops. World food production increases by 25% over the next two years.

June 1: The hypercombustion engine is released. Designed by nova Tetsuo Yamato, the hypercombustion engine is a super-efficient internal combustion engine, suitable for consumer and industrial applications. It boasts a tenfold decrease in fuel consumption while increasing power by a like amount. Within the decade, all automotive transportation and fossil-fuel-based electric production use hypercombustion engines exclusively.

June 15: In the wake of the Sao Paolo bombing, the UN Secretary-General grants Project Utopia's Science and Technology Department authority to monitor, approve and regulate new technologies, particularly those derived from the "nova boom." Many member nations and corporations vehemently protest this decision.

July 24: The first Summer Olympic games to feature nova-only competitions opens. The nova events include variations on traditional track and field events, and the games become the second-highest-rated sports event of the year

September 6: Project Utopia opens a special Rashoud facility in Bahrain. This facility is ostensibly designed to assist novas with high levels of quantum buildup, but Utopia is given leeway to confine novas considered in need of therapy by the UN as a whole. The facility's opening is not publicized, nor are the media or public allowed on the facility's grounds, though documentaries of its existence soon flood the OpNet.

September 30: The inaugural match of the Xtreme Warfare Federation, XWF, takes place in Madison Square Garden. The XWF is founded in response to increased demand for nova sporting events, and a corresponding loss of interest in traditional sports over the preceding years. The pay-per-view event garners massive ratings and is carried over OpNet. Licensing revenues top the $1 billion mark in a single year. The initial match is the highest-rated television event of 2004.

November 3: Lauren Pendleton is elected both the first female and first Libertarian president of the United States. The press credits her victory to voters disgruntled with two sex scandals by two consecutive presidents from both major political parties. The Libertarian Party and various independent candidates claim a sizable portion of legislative seats in the election.

December 31: Aeon Society census reports approximately 3000 known novas in the world population.

2005

April 2: Puerto Rico becomes the 51st state of the United States of America.

April 19: Team Tomorrow unseats Macedonian dictator Yaroslav Radocani. Radocani came to power with the aid of military loyalists and high-tech weaponry. Following the revelation that Radocani's s weaponry had been produced by Japanese corporations acting in violation of UN norms, Utopia's Science and Technology Department is granted even greater regulatory latitude in monitoring "potentially dangerous technological advancements."

June 15: Pope Benedict XVI issues Ad Dei Lucem, a bull declaring that novas, like humans, have immortal souls, are tainted with original sin and can be saved through the grace of Christ.

October 31: A previously unknown nova calling himself Divis Mal issues the Null Manifesto in a broadcast emanating from the Azores. The edict essentially counters the Zurich Accords, and claims that novas are "emancipated" from global citizenship and any responsibilities thereof. The provisions of the Null Manifesto state that novas are not human beings and are therefore not subject to human law, boundaries, or moral codes, nor may they claim citizenship in any nation established by human beings. Novas may be granted diplomatic privileges by human governments, but they are essentially "governments" unto themselves.

A nova-only dissident group calling itself the Teragen publicly endorses the Null Manifesto and renounces all ties to governmental bodies. Project Utopia comes out in strong public opposition against the Teragen's position, and it promises, in front of a closed UN Security Council meeting, to monitor Teragen activity. Sales of Teragen-specific bootleg merchandise skyrocket, particularly among the First World 18-35 demographic.

November 7: The first ever surgical trial of a complete spinal cord reconstruction is performed. The trial is a glowing success. Funding for the research comes from the Triton Foundation.

December 31: Aeon Society census reports approximately 3500 known novas in the world population.

2006

May 22: The Ethiopian government announces the completion of the terraforming project. The Ethiopian Highlands, formerly a dry, flat, desert plain, is now a verdant grassland. The grateful Ethiopian government gives Project Utopia a large headquarters in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia soon becomes the breadbasket of Africa.

July 5: A conservative Tehran mullah is openly assassinated by novas declaring themselves "members of the Teragen." Known Teragen sympathizers disavow the assassins, claiming that the Teragen is neither an organized institution nor has any single agenda. Nonetheless, Project Utopia and the UN take greater pains to monitor known or suspected Teragen novas.

August 30: Ongoing tensions in the Kashmir region erupt into a small-scale war. Nova elites representing India, China, and Pakistan fight across the region, turning it into a blasted ecological nightmare. Project Utopia steps in to stop the fighting, under UN authority, and arrests several of the novas deemed responsible for the disaster.

A Quebec separatist group based in Montreal claims responsibility for recent terrorist strikes in Ottawa and Toronto. Given the nature of the strikes, Canadian authorities fear the group may be employing a nova elite.

December 31: Aeon Society census reports approximately 4800 known novas in the world population.

2007

January 1: Nova astronaut Janos Karagian walks across the lunar surface without artificial life support gear. Plans are made to send nova astronauts to Mars.

March 1: The UN promotes a pact banning all nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weaponry. The NBC weapons ban is signed by all the member states. Military observers claim that while there is a trend towards disarmament, most of the nuclear powers still have stockpiled weapons.

May-December: Teragen attacks of terror and random violence begin being reported by the media. Although fewer than half a dozen terrorist strikes occur, the media goes into a frenzy.

Protect Utopia receives a permanent "advisor" seat on the UN Security Council. Many political observers credit the unprecedented move as stemming from Project Utopia's agreement to pay off the UN debt, totaling $1.6 billion.

December 31: Aeon Society census reports approximately 6000 known novas in the world population. As of yet, no nova is known to have been impregnated or impregnated others, either baseline or nova. Utopia-affiliated scientists vow to study this phenomenon, at the behest of nova would-be parents.

2008

May 13: Popular Team Tomorrow agent Jennifer "Slider" Landers is killed in Calcutta by parties unknown. The world is shocked at the murder of its "sweetheart."

May15: Jennifer Landers' closest friend, controversial ex-T2M nova Andrè Corbin, inexplicably flees the site of her funeral.

May 16: UN and Utopia investigations finger Slider's murder as the handiwork of Corbin, who is believed to be linked to the Teregen. This revelation comes as part of a worldwide public broadcast on all major news networks.

May 19: Scandal rocks Project Utopia as unconfirmed reports of mercenary novas, government infiltration and nova black ops leak to the media. Aeon Society and Project Utopia spokespeople immediately counter with evidence of a Teragen frame-up involving the dead Slider. Wary observers and conspiracy theorists see themselves as vindicated and deluge the media with dire predictions.

May 30: Nova Sophia Rousseau contacts fugitive Andrè Corbin. Their underground organization immediately begins contacting friends and acquaintances in the nova community, as well as newly erupting novas. The group's goal is to expose the hidden corruption in project Utopia, and Corbin dubs its members Aberrants in an ironic usage of a popular epithet

June 2: In a closed UN Security Council meeting, Utopia's Internal Affairs Department reveals findings indicating a frame-up of the organization. The US and British governments are unconvinced, and Directive surveillance of Utopia's operations is stepped up.

June 3: The Teragen meets in council at a hidden retreat. Topics of the meeting include what precisely is going on with the now-weakened Project Utopia, and how to use the group's newfound weakness to dismantle it.

June 4: Project Utopia begins an internal investigation for remaining allies of Corbin within its own ranks.

June 15: There are approximately 40 Aberrants worldwide, all either in deep cover or in hiding. To date, neither Corbin nor Rousseau has been brought to justice, and the identity of Slider's assassin remains a mystery.