Named by Dr. Edgar Wilson in 1941, mysteranium is a rare shiny bluish-green gray metallic element, with an atomic weight of 105.18672 au and a hardness of 2.75 on the Mohs scale. Its melting point is 1583 degrees Fahrenheit. It yields and bends under stress. When exposed to oxygen, it produces a blue-colored oxide comparable in color to cobalt blue.

Mysteranium has highly unusual properties. People who are exposed to a form of high energy (EG, a surge of electricity) after a sufficient quantity of mysteranium is present in the body (usually a quarter of a gram to half a gram) will often immediately develop physiological changes that can only be described as superhuman. Such people came to be known as "Mysteranium Enhanced People," or MEPs, by the US government.

The precise mechanics of mysteranium are still unclear, though peoples' changes seem to be affected by their environment quite often - EG, a woman who would only identify herself as "Lily" reported that she was working in a plant nursery the night she gained the ability to make plants grow. An anonymous man with the ability to freeze objects stated that he was in the arctic when he received them.

There are other indications that a person's state of mind can affect their changes - EG, a woman whose changes included enhanced strength and shield generation reported that she had a strong desire to keep her loved ones safe long before gaining her powers.

The US military classification system for mysteranium-enhanced people:
MEP-C1: Usefulness negligible. No real tactical benefit.
MEP-C2: Marginally useful. Does not outperform standard equipment or artillery.
MEP-C3: Very useful. Outperforms small equipment and/or artillery.
MEP-C4: Exceptionally useful. Outperforms heavy equipment and/or artillery.

Attempts to alter people via mysteranium have shown that risk is high and worthwhile results are relatively low. Studies typically find that 25% of suffer injury consistent with the energy force used as a catalyst. Another 25% experience mild injury to no change at all. Approximately 50% undergo biological change. However, 25% these changes bring little, if any serious benefit. 17% of these changes were of some benefit, but are not considered sufficiently superior to ordinary training and equipment by most militaries. 7% develop changes considered sufficiently useful by most militaries, and 1% develop changes considered exceptionally useful. With a 25% chance of harm or even death, and a 92% chance overall of failure to develop anything considered sufficiently useful, very few have seriously attempted to militarize mysteranium thus. (However, it did lead to the creation of an MEP classification system, which is still commonly used today.)

Another deterrent to militarizing mysteranium is the fact that individuals who fall into the "useful" range often require non-standard training, the precise nature of which is impossible to predict ahead of time. Another issue is the possibility of people who develop changes that end up being destructive - even if they can be eventually trained to control their abilities, most military people would rather not bother with the headache in the first place.

There appears to be a link between mysteranium and the use of magic, as the majority of mysteranium has been found in ancient magical sites. However, controlled experiments with magic users has consistently failed to produce any usable quantity of mysteranium.

Unbeknown to the US military, an American mage by the name of Jennifer Brennan discovered at least one origin of mysteranium in 1967 - it comes into our universe in appreciable quantities as a byproduct of the creation of magical portals. However, as portals are extremely difficult, even the most experienced of mages are loathe to create them except in the direst of circumstances.

Traces of mysteranium can become trapped in crystalline structures - eg, quartz and diamond. Crystals containing mysteranium usually exhibit blue hues ranging from purples to blues to bluish-greens. Crystals colored with mysteranium will glow brightly for several hours if exposed to electricity. Some have tried to grind up and ingest mysteranium-laced crystals with the intention of developing superpowers, but so far this has proven not to be effective.

It's estimated that there are a few to several hundred MEPs under the age of 65 in the US, comprising somewhere from .00009% to .00018% of the population. (It's hard to get an exact number, as many do not make themselves known.) Evidence suggests that the numbers are similar in any country where electricity is common.

Other Notable Incidents

In 1918, an 18-year-old college student of Cambridge University by the name of Albert Moore purchased a sample of purified mysteranium to use in electrical experiments. Moore used the college's resources and often let his friends watch. When Moore and his friends got drunk on New Year's Eve, he decided to show off a project he'd been working on and accidentally shocked himself. Moore suffered mild burns, and immediately afterward developed the ability to walk through walls at will. Moore would become involved in a string of high-profile robberies, though his illustrious career came to an end a year and a half later when one of his cohorts knifed him in his sleep to take his stolen goods.

In 1927, a group of miners discovered a patch of mysteranium-laced quartz and, after discovering that exposing them to electricity made them glow, used them as lights to navigate the mines. 19-year-old Robert Perkins accidentally electrocuted himself while attempting to charge the crystals thus. He survived with minimal injuries, but subsequently developed superhuman strength, durability, and the ability to see in the dark. This is the first confirmed mysteranium incident in the US. Although it was initially believed that the crystals were to blame, modern research indicates it was more likely that Perkins ingested small amounts of mysteranium dust while working.

In 1942, an experiment headed by Dr. David Bell to research the potential application of mysteranium for military use attempted to re-create the conditions of the 1927 Robert Perkins incident. Three test subjects, all volunteers, were subjected to the same currents of electricity in conditions which precisely re-created (including the location) the exact conditions of Perkins' freak accident. Volunteer A, a male of 18 years gained superhuman strength and his skin took on a thick, rocky appearance that offered protection from most injuries. Although Subject A performed well in combat for several months, he later experienced severe depression and outbursts of violence. It's believed that Subject A's mental state was a result of societal rejection based on his physical appearance. Volunteer B, a male of 21 years, experienced no change in physical status at all, even when voltage was increased beyond what a human should have been able to survive. Little else is known about Subject B except that he enjoyed a very successful career as an electrician after the war. Subject C, a male of 19 years, did not survive.

In 1953, 32-year-old Wendy Duvall of Solomon, Nevada was struck by lightning. Duvall was unharmed but gained the ability to fly and to navigate perfectly, even when blindfolded. Tests of the area revealed trace amounts of mysteranium in the drinking water. To prevent further incident, the government claimed that nuclear testing had rendered the town unsafe to live in, and residents evacuated. A government facility has since been built over Solomon's location.

Sale & Trade

Mysteranium is a tightly controlled substance in most countries - sale is usually prohibited without permits, which are usually highly difficult to obtain. However, this has not prevented it from being sold on the black market. Because of its scarcity, refined mysteranium can cost millions per gram, and approximately a quarter of a gram to half a gram is needed for biological change to catalyze.

Related SoulMettle content:

The National Mega-Threat Research & Response Administration

Other pages of interest:

Tips & Ideas To Make Better & More Interesting Powers

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