Project Atlas is the codename of a clandestine American military project with one aim: the production of Genetically Different soldiers. In historical homage, Atlas is colloquially known as the “Super Soldier Programme” in reference to comic books of old.
From the 21st century onwards, the US military – from star navy to special forces – were unparalleled. Though officially neutral in the Far Planet Revolution, the US intelligence services and military kept close tabs on developments given the proximity of their colony on Titan. When the rebel leaders took power, the CIA and NSA began to hear rumours of new agents in play, giving the revolution an unfair advantage. The US activated special forces cells of their own on the Union moons to shed some light on the new arrivals. These elite teams were eliminated in short order, leaving only garbled non-nonsensical transmissions. These records spoke of single soldiers with the ability to shoot energy from their hands, vanish into the walls or soar through the sky.
Before they could investigate fully, the Agency made contact with the director of the CIA. The group, it explained, were non-partisan. The destruction of the American special forces teams was more of a warning shot. Like with every other human faction, the Agency said, it would happily work for the Americans for the right fee. This infuriated the hawkish sections of the US military. Most believed it was a hoax or a trick of science and jet packs, but a Senator on the Defence Board commissioned a experimental biologist to look into the issue. Dr. Zimmerman attacked this task with relish, investigating the limited evidence available on these Agency individuals.
The programme, newly christened as Atlas, soon hit a wall due to lack of solid data. The ambitious Dr. Zimmerman came up with a plan. He used a third party to arrange a contract via the Agency and draw them to a set location: a trap. Springing this trap would leave Zimmerman and the Project with a real live Agency asset.
The asset took down over forty of the troopers down before capture. Once secured at the project base – secreted away just past Pluto – the experimentation began. He was scanned from every angle, with every manner of diagnostic known to mankind (plus a few the US hadn’t told anyone about). Samples ranging from hair strands to bone marrow were obtained from the sedated prisoner. Tetrabytes of data came rolling in, much to the delight of Dr. Zimmerman and his political masters. And then 24 hours after the capture: the station went dark.
The USS Iowa was dispatched at maximum speed from Titan. A sturdy American battleship, on high alert and armed for bear. It found the empty shell of a station, the highly trained security team dead and piled in Zimmerman’s office. The asset, of course, was gone. The message clear. Project Atlas was scaled back, made cautious and kept under close supervision. And quietly, through the Third Age, scientists worked..
At the beginning of the Forth Age, Project Atlas had produced a slew of failures. Promising special forces soldiers had been experimented on, their bodies, minds or sometimes both mutated wildly in an effort to match the strange capabilities of the Genetically Different. The sixth wave of cadets emerged from the testing vats looking human, thinking clearly. On the surface it seemed the scientists had been too cautious, gotten nowhere. And yet compared to their baseline testing, these sixth wave soldiers were physically stronger, twice as agile as before. Their mental alacrity was just as enhanced, gifting them genius level intelligence and astounding ability to assimilate information.
Atlas could finally be classed as a success. But these super soldiers were shrouded in secrecy. The American authorities knew they would strike fear into the hearts of their enemies and act as a deterrent to threats at home and abroad. But after the massacre off of Pluto, the threat of the Agency was always at the back of their minds.