Skinthetic's main competitive advantage against larger hypercorps is and always was its innovative new morph designs, along with good public relations amongst the Anarchists of various varieties. However, sometimes the experimentation needed to produce an innovative new morph or augmentation can be dangerous, either to transhumanity, to the hypercorp's reputation, or to its business interests. As such, the CEO, Elia Torres, authorized the formation of the Special Projects Division, so as to facilitate the research and development of such projects in secret. Each project is given a random codename from a list of ancient Greek mythological entities, so as to try to avoid the possibility of rival megacorporations or other interested parties from being able to determine what each project might be by looking for thematic links between the names and the project in question, in the event that communications or internal documents are intercepted. Special Projects Division is currently headed by Johann Strauss, a American man (currently sleeved in a suitable augmented Menton) who, prior to the Fall, worked in the administration of DARPA. He tends to wear serious suits, and utilizes endocrine control bioware to remain level-headed and logical even in the face of severe stress. A current list, as of 10 AF, is as follows: Project DAEDALUS: This is a project to attempt to reverse-engineer the improvements to cognitive ability and mental fortitude some Exsurgents demonstrate after they achieve level three psionics, but without the development of psychic powers or the goal-system shifts such Exsurgents demonstrate. It is currently based in a Brinker habitat that was taken over in secret, and possesses extremely heavy security precautions. As the strain of the virus used in their investigations was chosen to be only capable of infecting biomorphs, no biomorphs are allowed on the station; all researchers are sleeved into synthmorphs. The test subjects are a number of smart rats; upon the display of human-level intelligence or psychic powers, they are humanely euthanized by increasing the CO2 percentage in their test chambers, and are then dissected and analyzed. A small army of forks of a corporate security officer sleeved in Reaper morphs provide security for the facility; in the event of a catastrophic breach of security, there is a nuclear self-destruct that all personelle can activate. Similarly, all personelle possess an emergency farcaster; it has been modified to be incapable of broadcasting anything but a distress signal. Upon reciept of this signal, or the failure to receive scheduled updates (or recieving an unscheduled update, or any other unusual activity) the monitoring station will detonate an antimatter bomb with a hardwired neutrino communicator. The bomb is also wired to go off if the neutrino communicator is tampered with in any fashion. None of the on-site personnel know the location of this bomb. Project PARIS: This is a project to reverse-engineer third-level psychic powers, without the insanity or goal-system modifications that all exsurgents with such abilities possess. Security precautions are similar to those of Project DAEDALUS. Project SCYLLA: This is a secret project to gain access to Factor biological materials and produce augmentations for transhuman morphs, as well as adapting Factor morphs to be capable of sleeving transhuman egos. It is based in a wholly-owned beehive habitat built in a minor asteroid in the Main Belt; it has negotiated with the Factors through a web of proxies, shell companies, and third parties to make determining the true identities of their employers very, very difficult. It does this partially because it wants to deflect the attention of rival hypercorps, and partially in case it can keep going in the off-chance that the Factors discover some of the other projects the Skinthetic Special Projects Division is running. Project ORION: This is a project to acquire biological samples from various habitable exoplanets, so as to develop transhuman augmentations, uplifted xenomorphs, and other useful medical applications. Like Project SCYLLA, Project ORION is run through a network of proxies, shell companies, and third parties to keep the connection between the main company and the exoplanet arms of the project as distant as possible, to deflect suspicion and attention. Project PERSEPHONE: This is a project to develop an alternate biochemistry capable of surviving on the surface of Venus. Currently, they are experimenting with various biochemistries involving liquid sulphur and silicon compounds, though little progress has been made. Upon hearing rumors in Firewall of possible Exsurgent activity on Venus, however, Elia Torres has mobilized this project to attempt to capture some for study, if they turn out to be exsurgent biomorphs. If this is successful, security to the current secret Venus-surface facility will be vastly improved. She'll also attempt to pull some strings within Firewall to attempt to get any captured Exsurgent biomorphs (or, at least, their corpses) sent to this facility. While she doesn't want conflict between the project and any Sentinels sent, miscommunication could result in conflict between them. Project ZEUS: This a project to reverse-engineer TITAN "nanoswarmanoids" for transhuman use as morphs. Security is very heavy; there are multiple EMP devices, multiple remote-activated antimatter bombs, and the Brinker habitat suborned for use is filled to the brim with Guardian nanoswarms everywhere but where the hacked TITAN swarms are contained and studied. Project MEDUSA: This is a project on the drawing board, pending the results of Project ZEUS, for the reverse-engineering of TITAN "femtoswarmanoids". Project ATHENA: This a project that has been shelved, pending the success of Project MEDUSA. Simply put, it is a project to develop a modification of the Surya capable of independent survival without any additional transhuman assistance, as well as unassisted reproduction, and then seeding them in as many stars as possible. Due to the paucity of the heavier elements needed to produce biological children, and the inefficiency of nuclear fusion reactors as matter-producers, this has been put on hold until such a time as workable femtobots become available. Project APOLLO: This is a project designed to reverse engineer the capabilities demonstrated by the xenomorph strains of the Exsurgent Virus, to produce morphs capable of shape-shifting at will without the insanity or goal-system shifts demonstrated by Exsurgents. Security is heavy, and similar to Project DAEDALUS. Project ACHILLES: This project aims to modify Neo-Synergist hyperwave links so as to make them useful, while still limiting the chance of creating a transhuman seed AI. Currently, they are experimenting with hardwiring them with quantum farcasters, preventing other hyperwave broadcasters from joining an established network. Currently, marketing focus-groups are determining the best way to market them towards the target markets of businesses (for improved team efficiency) and married couples (for the romance of sharing everything with your spouse). An alternative approach being taken is wiring them up to a number of ghostrider implants running various specialist AIs (each of which can then run skillsofts), and thereby using them as a cognitive upgrade and a superior form of skillwires.
+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep