Crunched to fit, removing some empty (red) space in the process. The “Amish Death Squad” guy on the phone in panel one is now also on the phone in panel two – a change that was pretty easy to make, what with him being a silhouette and all.

For the record – these guys aren’t seen again until a (planned) short scene late in Transitional Voices… and unless ATC turns into a revenue stream, they aren’t seen previously, either. I’ve written enough viable introductory material to make for a nice little 26-32 page “one shot” supplemental story (which would fall before or after DCR) that introduces these guys, their relevance (both to the Heirotus Addicaine project and to Heirotus/{ETL|Templar} relations), and lays the groundwork for Ornix’s attitude towards Beef. But! Until I’m looking for stories to tell, I’ll be sticking with the Big One, of which these guys are but a very, very small part.

For the time being, anyway.

SPOILERS BELOW

Addicaine development stalled with the O series. While the program hit pay dirt with Alias (the N series), by the time he cropped up the program directors were working to figure out what to do with all of the genetically engineered kids running around. Corporate Security was the inevitable application, and from there – after the primary goal was achieved – the program was geared specifically to that end. The new primary goal: high-speed regeneration. The desired outcome: a soldier that could survive a headshot (or even the complete destruction of his/her cranium) and regenerate, complete with memories and skills. While the regeneration thing has been worked out to a point (and even retrofit into several of the Addicaine genomes), Heirotus is still working to crack the Memory Barrier.

Thanks to a combination of industrial espionage, insight, and raw talent, ETL has cracked the problem, and is (slowly) producing their own fully-regenerating operatives. The technology has a few limits, and at this stage of its development is obvious – the skin and eyes are a dead giveaway and as such, these guys can only be deployed in extremely remote areas, well off of Heirotus or ICG* maps. Remote areas like Earth.

The spoiler-est spoiler: the reason ETL succeeded so quickly while Heirotus has been plugging away for over a decade is a simple one – Heirotus needs the end result to be indistinguishable from a natural metahuman. Inside and outside. The Addicaine has to be able to pass a blood test, a body scan, DNA testing, etceteras. ETL’s approach has been completely different – with no emphasis at all on any of the points Heirotus gets pissy about, they set out to Solve The Problem. And while they solved it, they solved it at the expense of any covert ability. While the “Amish Death Squad” look like metahumans with NBE eyes and skin on the outside, on the inside they look like more of an X-Files episode than, say…. Gray’s Anatomy.

* The Interstellar Cartography Group, of which Heirotus is a member. Whether ETL is or isn’t doesn’t directly impact the story – it ain’t their logo on the side of the Hemera.

Cast

  • Thaddeus Gallahad

    A traumatic Awakening in the summer of 1997 was just the beginning of Thad’s emotional problems. The disappearance of most of his Pittsburgh friends a few weeks later compounded his issues and, while he...

  • Bartholomew Gant

    A genetically engineered black-ops metahuman similar to Beef Knuckelback and directly related by gene sequencing. Gant is just as taciturn as Beef, though he doesn’t share his chronic life allergy. He also lacks Beef’s...

  • Phoebus McClintock

    The quietest member of the “grey squad,” a trio of genetically engineered operatives assigned to Thule Garrison for the purposes of jiggling the handle on the Waking God Protocols. Phoebus never gets to do...