Type-3 superhumans, also known as “parahumans” to the public, are the newest form of superhumans to emerge, with the first documented case appearing in 1983. They comprised roughly one in every 1 million people as of 2011. The population density changes based on location, with more type-3s living in rural areas as opposed to cities due to the fear and paranoia surrounding them.
The exact mechanics behind the reality-bending abilities possessed by type-3 superhumans are uncertain but much speculated about, the prevailing and most likely theory being the presence of a nigh-undetectable field referred to as the DPF (distorted perception field), which can be generated by certain individuals following sufficient mental trauma and is a specified manifestation of a normally much weaker and more generalized reality warping ability. The size of the field determines the area which they can affect and its density determines how powerful the ability is in terms of raw energy output. Activated type-3s can be detected at close range with 80% accuracy using specialized equipment that indexes the distortion of local reality, equipment which is too large, expensive, and sensitive to be made portable or widespread.
The outright strength of parahuman abilities varies greatly, but it appears to be linked to the age at which they were activated. Younger activations generating stronger powers on average, though obviously at higher cost to the person’s psyche due to the requirements for activation. Powers generally form in response to the specific conditions of the trauma. For example, a physically abused child may develop either a physical defence or a means of escape depending on their mindset. Powers can be activated at any age. While it is barely documented, a secondary activation is possible, if similar conditions to the initial activation are met but greatly exceeded in magnitude. Secondary activations result in a massive spike in power, but at an equal loss of control. Sometimes their mind is nearly entirely consumed by their ability, resulting in a mindless force of nature that is either killed or kills itself.
Powers are never “straightforward”, such as superhuman strength or durability. While such things may be granted, it is always as a secondary mechanic to a primary ability such a skintight forcefield that can store and release energy. As such, every power is unique. No two natural type-3s have the same abilities, even clones of the same person exposed to the same trauma would have slight variations between them. All powers appear to have a plausible mechanism on the surface, though the explanation collapses rapidly under scrutiny. For example, a pyrokinetic would appear to be modifying the friction coefficient of air and objects, but how they are doing so is purely reality-warping that is not understood fully by humans.
Type-3s are barred from participation in military conflict or even military service in peacetime by UN treaty, and in the United States they are not allowed to serve as law enforcement either. This has not stopped the emergence of illegal vigilantes or warlords (especially in 3rd world countries, where activation-level trauma is common and the government is too weak to fight back), and in order to combat this a specialized international organization known as the UN Protectorate was formed. Type-3s are employed by the Protectorate, but only when absolutely necessary and they are kept under heavy supervision during field operations. Otherwise, they typically live in Protectorate bases outside of the public eye (though the existence of the Protectorate is not secret, their bases are treated similarly to military bases, and are not open aside from authorized visits by family members or loved ones). The Protectorate moderates parahuman activity worldwide, tracking both location and activities as well as assigning threat classifications. Classifications are not power levels, but rather a quick and dirty means of assessing the general threat level of an individual if they were to be combatted. As such, how a power is used can raise the threat, even if it is a relatively weak power.