The date is June 21st 2014 a year and a half since the Day of Cataclysm. The people of the world have resettled and rebuilt their lives, though in much smaller groups than before. The worlds population has stabilized at roughly 4 Billion people. Roughly 400,000 people have gained fast powers, known commonly as Novas. Some work for the benefit of mankind, some work for the benefit of themselves and others, no one knows.
New York City is still a populous place, now the Capital of the North American States. The players are normal mortals, each about to explode into a Nova, though they do not know it.