A link on a sticker and your curiosity brought you here. Welcome!
I made these stickers for a fictional organization called The Unity Movement, from the world of my Rough Passages book series. The Unity Movement was born in the Civil Rights era of my world, and it is dedicated to ensuring all citizens receive equal treatment under the law regardless of their age, sex, race…or superpower status. The Unity flag lays out the movement’s four foundation principles: equality, justice, freedom, and peace for all.
See, in the world of Rough Passages, a third of humanity tests positive for something called the R-factor. This means they have a chance of gaining superpowers when they hit middle age. The big problem with that? Long before someone comes into their powers, if they develop a power, they will face discrimination, hostility, and violent rejection just because of what they might become.
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Read on for some random trivia about how superpowers and society clash in my alternate reality.
Back on First Night, a disaster-filled 36-hour period in 1943, ten percent of the world population over age 45 developed mysterious powers. All of them. At the same time. The result was a series of horrendous disasters that leveled cities, killed tens of thousands, left generations traumatized and scarred, and changed the world forever.
As far as medical science knows, the R-factor appears at random. Superpowers aren’t genetic, they don’t predictably run in families, and they don’t fit into easily definable categories. There’s no telling what power you might end up gaining–the ability to change any piece of clothing to fit you perfectly, or the ability to level a city block into rubble by sneezing hard. Or you might get no power at all. Two out of three people who carry the R-factor tag in their blood develop no powers at all.
The one known constant is that the R-factor level in someone’s blood spikes higher just before a superpower rolls in.
It took decades after First Night for scientists to develop a test that could detect the R-factor and narrow down (however imperfectly) who who might roll into power. Until then, the only predictor of superpowers was age. Getting older meant possibly becoming a danger to everyone you loved.
In the 1940’s and 50’s, people continued to pass into the dangerous age range and then roll into power without advance notice, and often catastrophic results. Entire institutions arose to contain the damage and protect the innocent.
The federal Department of Public Safety and a special United States Marine Corps battalion were organized and tasked with the containment and control of the powered population along with the defense of nulls.
The United States in this alternate world is far more rigidly governed than the one we live in. The general public accepts more regulation and less privacy than what we consider reasonable, including universal blood screening for teens, annual blood testing for R-positive adults, and involuntary confinement of those on the verge of rolling into their powers.
The uncertainty and fear of those first few decades after First Night never waned. The draconian control measures implemented by a country in crisis have never been dismantled. Confining the newly-powered into camps is still done for the safety of the general public, and that internment may be followed by assignment to special military units.
Citizens remain under the direct authority of the Department of Public Safety or the military for as long as it takes for them to learn control over whatever powers they receive and to pay off any debts they accrue as wards of the state. That might take a year. It might take a lifetime.
Testing positive for the R-factor is considered a burden, not a gift.
The Unity Movement hopes to change all that.
Important Disclaimer: kids of all ages love stickers, but my stories aren’t for children. Teens, sure. Tweens, even, although there are some swear words. But the books are aimed at grownups.