Tested in Fire: New Humanity Prelude

Everything began to change in 2030.

The comet was spotted nearly a whole year earlier, and a group of the world's scientists projected it's course. Then they calculated it's path once again, for it was a conclusion that they really didn't want to admit was true. The data was then passed on to the respective governments, then over to the president of the United States himself.

A comet was going to impact with the Earth, in a little over one year.

There was no time for probes, no time for a leisurely scientific investigation. There was a relatively small chance the rock and ice would be destroyed by re-entry, but the odds were good it would reach the ground. The impact would be the equivalent of multiple nuclear strikes, the effects to the Earth's environment dire. They needed to act.

Less than three months later the rockets were prepared, armed with nuclear payloads. The blasts were calculated carefully, intended to pulverize the comet's heavy core into smaller fragments, harmless fragments. In addition the rockets would nudge the comet's path, sending the debris hurtling away from Earth's orbital path.

The launch went off smoothly, and the rockets traveled through space to the projected point of intersection with the comet's path. The first explosions went off just as planned, shattering the ice and rock into a cloud of debris, but then something went badly wrong. The blasts that were meant to channel the rubble on a new path failed to detonate on time, and instead the tons of dust and debris continued on to Earth.

There wasn't enough time to prepare another launch of missiles, and with the damage done to the comet it would be harder to target the remaining mass. Instead the world hunkered down in their bunkers and other shelters, bracing themselves for what was to come.

The comet arrived right on time, the smaller pieces burning up in the atmosphere, their components being carried off in the wind. Then the larger pieces came, and the world trembled under the powerful impact. Scientists would later theorize that the heart of the comet had been made up of some super dense material, an entirely unknown element. Whatever it was, it survived re-entry and wreaked havoc where it struck the ground.

China and eastern Europe was the worst hit by the wave of strikes, though the entire planet was ultimately effected. The cometary material rained down there first, rendering much of that territory entirely uninhabitable. The explosions, each one far beyond any man made weapon, threw tons of material into the air, rock, soil, and the comet's material.

The rock and debris, carried through the air, soon blanketed the entire Earth, cutting off the light of the sun. A hundred years ago, this would have meant the end of humanity, but the people refused to die. Artificial light grew needed crops, stored food kept people alive, and three years later the sun finally shone down on a very changed world.

The darkness had changed things, irrevocably. Governments had fallen, only small city-states continuing to function in the madness and panic. Weapons became a precious commodity, used to secure power and protection, and those without fell under the domination of those who did. Even when the sun returned, and rebuilding started, things stayed that way. Much technology was lost, destroyed in rioting and chaos, and reconstructing it would be the work of generations.

And as the rebuilding began, people discovered they had changed. A man possessed on inhuman strength, a child born with fur, a figure as fast as the wind, and they were just the beginning. Humanity had been changed, and they had to learn to understand what had happened to them.

Scientists had many theories, but nothing proven. The comet, it was universally agreed, was the cause, but how, exactly, seemed to elude them. Some believed an unknown element in the comet had wrought the change accidentally. Others claimed it was intentional, the comet seeding humanity with superhuman potential. A third camp believed that the gifts were an evolutionary jump to preserve humanity from the long winter. But whatever the cause, humanity had changed.

The question became would the world survive what humanity was on it's way to becoming..

Author's Notes: This is the background piece for a new fictional world, one based on superhumans. Inspired by the Wildcards series of novels, as well as the comic book series Stormwatch. Most of the episodes will be one shots or short mini-series, chronicling the lives of characters in this world. I hope you'll enjoy exploring this new world along with me.