Commonly known as Meta-Humans, officially known as Extraordinarily Gifted Individuals, these are people who have capabilities that go beyond the limits of normal people. Meta-Humans, or Metas for short, make up a small portion of the global population, somewhere around 1-2%. There are enough for them be a fact of life, but little enough so that many people might live their entire lives without ever personally knowing a Meta. The distribution of Metas worldwide is pretty uniform, with very slight fluctuations, so no nation can truly claim to have more Metas than other nations.
Metas in Society Edit
The number of Metas in the global population is an estimate. This has multiple reasons, like for example the fact that many Metas are not even aware of her abilities, and many of those that are live in secret, never revealing their ability to anyone. However, a fair number of Metas do still live openly with their powers, to varying degrees. The spotlight falls, of course, mostly on those among them who would use their powers in a criminal fashion and those who make it their mission to stop them from doing so. Though they aren't official terms the labels of Superhero and -Villain are liberally applied to these individuals, not in small part thanks to the comic book industry.
This spotlight is often seen as a nuisance to both those within it and those outside of it. To those within it it can often attract hindering attention, and those outside of it can often feel under appreciated. It is a fact of statistics that not everyone with a meta-power can be a superhero. For one not everybodies powers are suited to that career, and moreover some powers that are can do even more good in the civilian sector. Many times the extremely valuable contributions of civilian Metas are overlooked because they are not as flashy or impressive as the clash of super powered criminals and crime fighters. It has left a lot of civilian Metas more than a bit bitter towards their more well publicized kin.
Metas in History Edit
As far as anyone has been able to tell Metas have been part of the world's population since day one. Many legends and myths have been found to be based on ancient Metas. In the broader strokes the uniform distribution of Meta-Humans around the globe cancelled itself out and history went pretty much the way it did in our universe. Agricultural Revolution, Middle Ages, Industrial Revolution, World Wars, it's all there, and it all lead to pretty much the same result, though details might have been different. Most people of historical importance existed, though some might not have, and some might have been Metas.
An important historical event concerning Metas is what's become known as "The Great Emergence". It's a phenomenon that's still being heavily researched, but so far it has been shown that sometime in the 1900s the percentage of Metas being born rose dramatically and hasn't dropped back down so far. As best as historians can determine, pre-emergence Metas made up somewhere around 0.03-0.07% of the global population. Post-Emergence the number has climbed to an estimated 1-2%, though some analysts even place the projection as high as 5%. What caused this sharp climb is unknown, and no promising theory has been advanced yet. It is also in debate if the rise is ongoing. The Great Emergence has lifted Metas out of the murky realms of being a quasi-mythical portion of life and their existence is now a well-accepted fact.
As mentioned above "Meta-Humans" is an unofficial term. The reasons for this are manifold, but one particularly strong reason is that nobody so far has been able to actually define a boundary between Metas and normal people. If you imagine it as a scale the right and left two fifths of the spectrum are pretty clearly either normal or Meta, plus some powers are just clearly impossible for a biologically and neurologically typical human. There is, however a grey, fluid area of overlap in the middle, where it is hard to say where the exceptionally trained person ends and the Meta-Human begins. In every day parlance these people that occupy this gray area are often referred to as Super-Normals. they do things that other people can do, but they do it so exceptionally well that it's hard to say wether they have just redefined the upper limit of human capabilities, or if they are beyond those limitations altogether.
Meta-Related Bigotry Edit
It is a well-established truth that humans fear the things they don't understand and that differ from their established knowledge. People hate each other for differences as fundamental as the color of their skin or as trivial as which gender they are attracted to. The Meta/Normal divide is no exception to this rule. Many Normals harbor a deep distrust of Metas, reasonings ranging from religious motivations to paranoia to envy and more. Organizations that call for the disenfranchisement of and removal of rights from Metas exist around the world, and even factions calling for their complete purge are unfortunately well known. The most influential among this groups is known as "The Pure Path", an organisation that had it's relatively unassuming start in the Carribean, but has since become an international political power house. They openly foster a general air of distrust against Metas, weaving an imminent takeover narrative.
On the other side of the bigotry coin it won't surprise anyone to discover that there are factions of Metas who are deeply prejudiced against Normals. Propaganda of Meta superiority and the eradication of "Ordies", a slur term derived from "ordinary", is as pervasive as it is despicable. The biggest and most dangerous groups among these factions is "Insanüstü Cetvel" an organisation that started out as a band of turkish mystics. The more readily recognized, international name of the group is "Superhuman Rulers" and they are responsible for a great majority of Meta Terrorism against Normals. They are often falsely lumped in with Muslim extremists, which they vehemently deny, seeing all religion as pitiful Ordie attempts at elevating themselves to the status of the blessed Metas. The internal divides in the Meta-Terrorist organizations, along lines of power source, power level and others things, have so far proven to be an asset to those fighting them.