I’ve seen a lot of nonsense bandied about on various websites and news feeds.  People are inventing ten point scales to determine exactly how strong our new Ultrahuman Heroes are, comparing them to one another and to various industrial machinery.  It is rubbish.

Ultrahuman strength, and Ultrahuman gifts in general, don’t work in a way where we can measure them that easily.  You don’t think we tried?  We asked a member of the Force who had Ultra strength to lift weights of various sizes.  The results were mind boggling.

Larger weights made of lighter materials were harder to life, even if they actually weighed less.  A vault entirely filled with sand was exactly as hard to lift as the same vault when emptied, so long as young Pursuer wasn’t told whether it was full or empty.

The results for endurance and speed, and the way that such gifts interacted with each other, gave similar results.

The picture it adds up to is more like cheat codes for reality than it is anything relating to the physics that the rest of the world labors under.  An Ultra Strong hero doesn’t have an extra ton or force or so that they can exert, rather, they push on the world and as much force appears as they need.  The process seems to work in tandem with their intentions, rather than being governed by it entirely.

An Ultra Durable hero, similarly, isn’t withstanding tons and tons of kinetic force.  Rather the objects that strike them ‘miss’, and transfer no impact or only a tiny fraction of their impact.  It is like an admin’s character in an MMO.  Their hit points aren’t high, they simply don’t have a subroutine to take damage.

The three point scale that reputable authorities have been promulgating is a recognition of this fact.  Ultrahuman gifts at level one are only partially divorced from reality.  They supplement the human portion of the Ultrahuman’s exertions.  They suffer fractions of the impact, move more swiftly than should be possible but still obey linear time.  Level two gifts bear no greater relation to our universes’s laws than do the contents of a cartoon show.

The relation between two and three is even vaguer.  If an Ultrahuman is noticeably unreal (or perhaps ur-real?  Super real?), then they are a two in that aspect.  If another Ultrahuman is unaffected by their efforts then we award them a three.

Obviously, this scale is imprecise, but it gets at something real.  Each step up the scale is another impossibility spanned, another degree of removal from the tyranny of our world’s physics.

I never imagined that I would see such breakthroughs in my lifetime.  Never imagined an age where the paradigms of my youth were not merely overwritten, they were entirely disregarded.  When we understand the Process, when we can harness the power behind the Ultrahuman’s blithe disregard for the limitations of our world, we shall enter a new age.

All things will be possible, with entropy kicked to the corner where it deserves.  We may live forever, make matter from nothing experience things as unimaginable to me as our present would be to our ancestors on the savanna.

I doubt I can claim any particular foresight when I say that the Ultrahumans will lead us into a new world.

7 thoughts on “Clarifications

  1. I’m a little confused… Isn’t this chapter almost exactly equal to one ofthe first chapters, in which the ultra power levels are first dicussed? Or is there something new I’m not getting?

      1. Indeed. And this description suggests that there might be an actual infinite progression of power levels. Like Ultr Strength 5 which can move stars, Ultra Durability 4 which can’t be killed by Prevailer and stuff like that.

        Levels only seem capped because Prevailer is keeping the strongest ones out

  2. Something I’ve been thinking that I haven’t written down yet: the process isn’t dangerous. It’s not a gamble. It’s perfectly deterministic, in fact. Prevailer is just filtering out the strongest ultras. Problem is, no one knows who the strongest Ultras are.

    Why do men die more often than women? Because their latent gifts are stronger. Or maybe they trade a higher mortality for stronger gifts.

    Otherwise the math doesn’t really add up: men are supposed to survive the process in smaller numbers (and most probably don’t even try). Yet, we have an extraordinarily high number of very powerful male Ultras: Indulger, Pursuer, Condemner, Predictor, Averter, Mithras, Adder, Linker… Zeus, the leader of the Pantheon, which harbours a prejudice against males is a man!

    1. Prevailer would probably still be able to hurt someone with Toughness 4, she’d just have to actually work to do it. IIRC when Strength = Toughness they interact about the way they would if they were baseline humans.

      Also before accounting for the difference in odds of success, I would expect men to volunteer for the Process at much higher rates than women, since they’re generally more inclined towards high risk behaviour. I’m not sure how much the difference in odds effects that but at least outside the Union I wouldn’t be surprised if a significant percentage of the people going into the Process are male.

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