The first recorded instance of the Plague was in early 2000. Since then it has decimated the population of earth through both its deadly effect on the human body and the monsters it creates. Humanity's last line of defense is the Mews, young people who developed the power to tap into the natural abilities of animals. Aided by others who have developped different kinds of powers, Mews are left to fight the constant threat of the Berserkers while human scientists attempt to cure the Plague which continues to infect humans.
Berserkers are animals that succumbed to the Plague, but didn't die from it. They are driven mad and are left with only intense survival instincts that instruct them to blindly murder everything. When an animal starts to descend into the Berserker state, many people consider them to have lost their soul. This belief stems from the fact that as an animal transforms into a Berserker, the pigmentation literally drains from their bodies leaving them stark white with perfectly clear eyes (the benefit of this is that humans are able to tell which animals have started going mad and are sometimes able to kill them before they become a threat). In addition to this, physical mutations often take place; like a change in size, or even the growth of an extra limb. It's like the evolution of a species is taking place at an incredibly sped up rate in just a select few individuals.
All types of animals can become Berserkers, but some are more dangerous than others. People would have no chance of surviving a fight against, for example, a Berserk wolf, but a Berserk ladybug is still just a ladybug and no matter how much it wants to kill you, you could probably just step on it.
In the history of that Plague there has only been one human Berserker. Any record that may once have been kept relating to her identity has now been lost and so she is considered the greatest unknown in the fight to defend humanity. Because she still manages to retain her human-level of intelligence while still gaining all the "benefits" of becoming a Berserker, she is also one of the most dangerous threats facing the Mews.
Those lucky few who develop abilities are those whose bodies fought back against the Plague and won (that's not to say they are safe from the effects of the Plague; a newer strain might end up doing them in). By some unknown means they adapted and the Plague bacterium formed a sort of symbiotic relationship with their bodies which lead to many surprising results.
Those who develop abilities are typically teenagers and young adults (the youngest recorded was twelve and the oldest was twenty-three) considered at their physical and mental peak. Men and women are equally likely to develop abilities. No one has been able to figure out exactly why some people develop abilities and others don't, but it is known that it is not genetic as it is actually rather rare for multiple siblings to have abilities (although when they do their abilities are typically similar).
Considered the epitome of combat-oriented abilities, Mews are the 'fight fire with fire' approach that is working to reclaim land and resources lost to Berserkers. Mews have the power to tap into the natural abilities of animals (which, naturally, varries from person to person). They can take on both the characteristics (like ears, tails, or wings) of a certain type of animal and the benefits that come with it (like enhanced reflexes, night vision, or flight). Their weapons are their bodies and through the use of claws, tallons, or other appendages, Mews are able to channel what is often considered to be their very soul in order to strike down their enemies.
When Mew abilities first started cropping up, their use in combat was highly controversial because it was assumed that they got their abilities by contracting a strain of the Plague that evolved to transmit to humans from the Berserkers themselves. People quickly got over it when their usefulness became apparent, but there are still those who would rather have them taken off the field than risk the awakening of true human Berserkers.
Active vs. Passive
A line is drawn between abilities that have a passive effect on their user and those that must be actively controled and used. Active abilities are much more common while passive abilities are generally considered to be more powerful. Very rarely does someone posess an ability that has both an active effect and a passive one.
When abilities were first discovered their usefulness was immidiately seen and so the Program was started to keep track of all those who developped abilities. Initially, it was more of a scientific endeavor; carrying out procedures of questionable legality on those with abilities in order to see what caused them to not only survive the Plague, but come out the better for it. Over the years however, it evolved into a military venture. Those who developped abilities were trained to fight Berserkers and defend what remained of the human race.
Everyone who is a part of the program recieves a number that is their official designation. The first number is the group they are a part of. A new group is started at the beginning of each new year and if no one with abilities become active during that year it is simply skipped over and the next year to yield someone with abilities is the next in numerical order.
The second number simply shows the order in which someone's ability is discovered. The first person to be found in a year will be -01 and so on. Being discovered first in your year is a worthless honor and will earn you nothing that anyone else wouldn't get.
- Color Coded for Your Convinience
Red - The Mews.
Blue - People with offensive abilities. Anyone who isn't a Mew, but can still damage enemies is considered a blue.
Yellow - People with support oriented abilities. These are people who can do things to help keep the rest of the team alive and include everything from healing to being able to throw up defensive force fields.
White - People with abilities that don't fit into the other categories. They're either so bizarre or so useless that they can't be put anywhere else. Depending on their type of ability, they can carry out the duties of a blue or yellow (or just constantly get left at home).
Each combat group is made up of three or four members. Ideally a group would contain at least a red, a blue, and a yellow to maximize offense and prevent unneccessary loss of life. In practice though, there aren't enough Mews to go around so most groups contain just a mix of blue and yellow (and ocassionally a white).