The Harris Scale

Early in WWI, rumors circulated about people – soldiers and refugees – displaying powers beyond mortal ken. The rumors grew into eye-witness accounts and finally military reports. Soon each country was clamoring to recruit a superhuman.

To keep things from getting out of hand and possibly leading to another international incident, the League of Nations sequestered the superhumans in Switzerland where a medical team, lead by American Dr. Lester Lee Harris, examined and tested them.

From Dr. Harris’ study came metrics by which to compare the “strength” of superhumans. The Harris Scale, though refined over the last century, is still fundamentally the same measuring device developed in 1920.

The modern Harris Scale has 5 primary levels. Listed from strongest to weakest they are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon. There are also 2 lesser levels, Zeta and Theta (see below). Each level is divided further into 3 phases. The weakest is phase 1 (sometimes called base or basic). The intermediate is phase 2 and the strongest is phase 3 (sometimes called ascendant).

Commonly, the level is stated first followed by the number of its phase. Together, it is referred to as one’s ranking. Example: a superhuman in the ascendant phase of Gamma level is said to have a Gamma 3 ranking (or just called a Gamma 3).

Harris Scale testing is time consuming and expensive but is required for insurance purposes under the Amber Acts. There are only 5 facilities specifically for Harris Scale testing in the United States, 1 of which is in Rocket City. Thanks to GenomeX’s Superhuman Initiative, the cost can be deferred for a number of young people who meet the criteria.

THE FIVE PRIMARY LEVELS

Alpha – Theoretically, the highest level possible. No known superhuman has yet achieved this.

Beta – The most powerful known level. When Amber was first tested, she was already a Beta 1. Here last official test put her at Beta 3 (on the edge of Alpha).

Gamma – Interim but still very powerful. Both in power and population, this level represents the dividing line between the “common” Deltas and the rare Betas.

Delta – Most common level, representing over 50 percent of all known superhumans. Under the Amber acts, no one under Delta can become a costumed vigilante. Certain Thetas have been known to test in this range after extensive specialized training or while using advanced technology (see BloodBath’s armor).

Epsilon – Epsilon numbers are difficult to estimate because this level can present as exceptional (though not noticeably superhuman) physical or mental ability or aptitude in certain skills.

THE TWO LESSER LEVELS

Zeta – Having the gene traits and/or chemical markers related to superhumanism but no manifested superhuman abilities. Direct descendants of superhumans are always at least Zetas.

Theta – Having no gene traits and/or chemical markers related to superhumanism; normals.

The Harris Scale

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