ACRU: Currently celebrating its first year of operation, the Abilities Crime Response Unit is a small, select group of officers dedicated to responding to incidents that sound like they may be ability related. This ranges not only from just robberies to murders, but also negotiations, or instances of escalating violence between opposing groups; they'll respond to public disturbances, or calls of discrimination. This means that each team member has to be screened for a specific level of control over their ability (which should aid in investigation in some way) and also psychological level-headedness. The ACRU has a negotiator, a sniper (for lethal solutions when it comes to that), and its own CSI team, as well as having close ties to branches of the law who then take their cases.
- Because they are, officially, a police team, app'd characters should have a related background, training, or an extremely relevant ability and a solid background/mental check.
Attorneys/Courts: New laws are being proposed, passed, debated, and challenged constantly. The way in which the law and its courtrooms operate is in a state of flux as the judicial system comes up against unique problems and grey areas related to abilities. There is now a stricter screening process set in place for jury selection: the court demands blood tests by all prospective but unregistered jurors, screening for psychics or anyone whose ability may interfere with the regular judicial process or disrupt court.
In the past year, alongside the development of the Abilities Crime Response Unit, a few law offices began to claim an upper hand on the changing system by specializing some of their staff. While there is no special court of law, these select attorneys are more commonly placed on cases prosecuting or defending individuals involved in ability-related cases. In Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office started this trend, which the firm of Yonge, Levine & Ginsberg was the first to follow. All have frequent contact with ACRU.
News: The news stations, and magazines, are obviously pushing and staying on top of every hot topic they can. They are, notably, the most likely place to find no registered ability positives. Whether this is because of subtle screening by employers, or a silent pact between employees, the news stations and reporters have managed to remain remarkably neutral as far as having abilities goes.
- The Speaker: And then there's The Speaker, a smaller, online news source that represents no network. It deals in both truth and gossip and has gained special notice for being not so cautiously politically correct.
Doctors: The "Get Tested" campaign has pushed more medical professionals to step forward and offer their services to the ability positive and those seeking answers about their own DNA. They're still few and far between compared to the medical population at large; clinics and doctor's offices boasting "We Do Ability Tests Here!" advertising puts them at risk of discrimination. Ability testing and treating the potentially unique health issues of the powered population is gradually becoming a specialized branch of medicine that the healthcare system isn't quite prepared for. Nevertheless, out of necessity, hospitals such as the non-profit hospital and research institution Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles are becoming equipped not only to handle blood samples sent in from such clinics, but for larger-scale testing of an ability's scope, with heavy-duty testing rooms and equipment.
Researchers: Medical research has been in a frenzy since the outing, being pushed constantly to find anything from miracle cures— to actual cures for abilities. Nothing has been radically successful so far, and most is stuck in FDA or government testing because of the supreme caution officials want to take when handling something so potentially volatile. After her outing, Claire Bennet was known to be a generous, but careful, first donor, but her blood, while purported to have once had healing properties of its own, has since been declared impotent. Testing for this phenomenon has taken top priority, while the government is keeping close tabs on other research theses— likely, the community believes, to clamp down any attempts to synthetically create abilities.
"Is Your Blood Red Or Blue?": This slogan has become popular around the West Hollywood area, appearing on the backs of buses and haunting street corners. It's the loudest and most prominent voice of the awareness group LATR: "Los Angeles, Take Responsibility". They work on the premise that not knowing is the most dangerous idea of all, loudly, but not yet forcefully, compelling every citizen to take responsibility for their own body and find out if they could be a threat to themselves, or loved ones, or even the whole city, in the future.
- Known Groups:
- LATR: "Los Angeles, Take Responsibility": pro-registration. Guilt, and fear of the unknown, are their primary weapons. No physical escalation.
Anti-Registration Groups: Those that are heavily against registration tend to either be those who are quietly afraid, or those who are loudly against it. They are the most likely to start confrontations over the issue, and to compare Registration to horrors of the past.
Pro-Ability Groups: As can be expected, retaliation has taken up many different levels. There are those, many more medically sided, who believe that the 'red or blue' campaigning is going to lead to unnecessary confusion, making the two groups seem completely alien to each other. They tend to be a quieter, more level-headed protest. Others cross the line, unafraid to compare the government's current ability positive measures to any number of past events where separating a specific group has led to terrible results.
- Known Groups:
- FLAG: "For Liberty And Good-Will": pro-abilities, 50-50 registration. Most known for using an American flag as an example of both reds and blue bloods making up the nation.
Anti-Ability Groups: Alongside the anti-Registration protestors, these voices are the most adamant. Many of them are in political or military positions of power, touting that threats are not ignored across borders, so why should they be allowed to roam free within the home country. Fear tends to sit alongside looking at those with abilities as some kind of mutation, less than human, despite their superhuman capabilities.
- Known Groups:
- Greg Terry is a well-known senatorial voice in California, unafraid to make his strong anti-ability opinions public. He disagrees with any legislation that seems to accept ability positives into working society.
Ability Positive: This is the official documented name for those whose blood tests positive for having a power, whether it has manifested or not. This is occasionally shortened, but on all highest level documents this is how it will appear. So far, being 'ability positive' is treated more like a condition than a 'race', leading to continued discrimination.
Get Tested: The public office campaign to "Get Tested" encourages citizens to do just that. Get tested, get registered, get safe. Posters for the campaign can be seen in public places and doctor's offices nowadays in the same way public health advertising encourages people to get tested for HIV or use birth control. Only select doctors and clinics provide the simple drawing of blood to determine whether or not someone is ability positive. "Get Tested" doesn't just stop there — once someone takes that first step and finds out they have a power, follow-up visits are scheduled regularly to track progress.
Registration: Registering that you are ability-positive is currently not required, but extremely encouraged to the point of nearly seeming law. Once registered, your name, current address, ability status/name/and risk level are recorded into a database and you are given a sheet of paper proclaiming all of this; this Registration paper is to be carried with you at all times like a license or credit card. If your ability happens to pertain to telepathy, clairvoyance, or other information-gathering techniques, you'll find a government pamphlet in your mailbox soon after describing how YOU as an American citizen can use your power for the good of the nation.
Some of the groups/jobs that require registration are:
- Professional sports
- Law enforcement
- Justice department / Anyone entering a courtroom
- Some medical fields
License Law: The current hot-button issue. Officials have been bickering over how to handle registration going forward, and it's finally culminated in a decision to start printing ability information on drivers' licenses. This proposed plan would have any known ability positive show a red strip on their license to indicate a power present; those graded to be 'high risk' would be required to list the actual power alongside. Amongst the complaints, Greg Terry has been heard saying that allowing abilities on licenses gives them too much validation, and perpetuates the idea that these people are regular citizens.
Risk Level: A grade issued by the government once you're registered determining how 'threatening' your ability could be. This is determined both by the nature of the ability itself, and your inherent demonstrated control over it. 'Risk Level', if appearing on licenses as is being suggested, could be the basis for the heaviest discrimination.
- Levels: Please remember to specify in your app if you are registered or not; we will ask otherwise. Your level will be assigned you once your app is accepted.
Category: Something your doctor might ask you, as well as is starting to appear on Medical History forms. What category is your ability? It fluctuates as more is learned about each, but the general ones seem to include Physical, Mental, Emotional, Energy or Other. There are also sub-categories for some. These have become important in order to know what specialist or equipment to use for power testing or other health issues, but are hardly comprehensive.
Power Grades: This is the set of number/letter that you get assigned once you've been put into a category. Unlike the more military Risk Level, grades are used purely in the medical community, and have started appearing on physical paperwork, as well as used to assign you to a testing facility:
- 1 is for mental, or generally non-threatening abilities.
- 2 is for physical attributes, abilities that cause biological changes, or physical enhancements.
- 3 is for large-scale effect, or clearly threatening abilities.
- Then A stands for Aggressive (an ability that is always on, able to cause damage instantly; an offensive ability) or P for Passive (an ability that cannot cause— within scope— damage; a defensive ability)
- For example: Someone with Telepathy would grade in as a 1P. Mental, plus it would be considered Passive, for the way that it works, not necessarily that it cannot be used against people. Super-strength would rate as 2A. It's a physical enhancement, and it could immediately be used for combat/harm. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask staff.
Refusal Of Service: While the state laws are still in so much flux, business owners have been heavily exercising their rights to refuse service, squeaking by discrimination suits while no one's sure where ability positives fall in the line between citizen and other. Places that serve ability positives in heavily opposed areas might be vandalized or punished. Others might refuse ability positives service, while the cautiously accept will only tell the highest risk level holders to please leave.
A-positive, A-Ps, Possies: Just some of the shortenings of 'Ability Positive' that have come out.
Negatives, N-P, No Powers: In retaliation, some have turned being 'negative' on the power test into a negative slang.
Powers, Superpowers, Evolved, Special: While considered too "comic book" by the government, these terms have certainly not died outside of official documents. Many are used more strongly by pro-ability groups in order to elicit a sense of superiority.
Power Card, Red Mark, Red Patch, 'Your Red': The separate registration paper that names your ability.