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The Type-III Awakening Incident was a massive event in the mid 1980s which resulted in the appearance of barely understood and highly varied abilities, heralding an era of uncertainty due to hundreds of powered individuals appearing that were able to bend the laws of reality, dubbed 'reality warpers' and more recently, parahumans. The first known parahuman is referred to only as "Paradigm", his name and location having seemingly been removed from records, accessible only by the Chief Director of the Protectorate. The official reason given was to protect his safety. Following Paradigm, the number of parahumans increased exponentially for 5 years before plateauing. As of 2011, roughly 1 in every million people is an active parahuman.

These new individuals were classified as "Type-III" on the Metahuman Index, due to their powers being neither grounded in the super-science and technology of Type-I, nor the semi-understood but still limited Type-II identified magical community. Organizations such as the Protectorate were founded by the United Nations shortly after the Awakening Incident to prevent possible catastrophic incidents resulting from the proliferation of reality-warping powers via heavy regulation, registration and cataloguing of known Type-III individuals. The United States of America in particular outlawed all Type-III activity not authorized by the Protectorate and implemented severe penalties for even minor violations of this ban.

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