Description and Brief History
The US Government was a forerunner in the realm of experimentally produced SPBs. In the late 1950s a government project intended to systematically produce Super Soldiers was initiated by the Dept of Defense. Military families were asked to volunteer their children for participation in the Citizen Project. The children would be genetically modified before birth, facilitating future experimentation intended to result in the manifestation of super abilities. In exchange for this commitment the families and children recieved first class education, medical care, and several other oppurtunities. The education strongly emphasized civics, ethics, and history, in addition to mathematics, science, and technology. At the age of eighteen, having completed their secondary education, the children were given a choice without obligation; either to enter life as a civilian or to finish the program and enter the US Military for an extended term. Both options provided scholarship oppurtunities, and the children that chose to leave the program were treated well.
Contrary to what a skeptic might think, very few attempts were made to coerce participants into the latter option. The program was organized and operated by a commitee that foresaw the danger of disgruntled super soldiers recruited without consent. Rather than run this risk, the participants were treated honestly and openly, a decision that often caused friction with other branches of the government. In hindsight, this decision has been vindicated by the high percentage of finishing participants and the inestimable public relations value of testimonials from participants. The program has fulfilled a very public role for the military, and enjoys excellent public opinion. Even the intimidating appearance of the final state soldiers has become an accepted positive icon. As the second generation of Citizen Project participants is nearing completion the program is at it's peak in popularity. Retired SPB military often join civiliain police forces, and are very well received.
Timeline of Participants
SPB Variations of Citizen Project Graduates
Graduates of the Citizen Project were never intended to be the individual powerhouses; they are typically organized into teams ranging from 4-24, depending on mission specific requirements.
As stated above, all Citizen Project graduates exhibit the experimental side effect Must Physically Transform. All participants share the following common traits:
Super Soldier Program
A large percentage of the first generation of graduates entered into the Super Soldier MarkIV program. The MarkIV are the "traditional" representation of the Citizen Project. The US Military Super Soldier program was started in the 1940s, eventually producing the MarkI. The MarkIII was developed in the mid 1960s, and the MarkIV was developed with the graduates of the Citizen Project in mind, first used in 1970.
The Super Soldier program has lost much of its support in the wake of recent successes in SPB experimentation, but the newest effort, MarkV, is in a field testing phase. The first experimental subject is working as a government liason within a government endorsed group of SPBs called the Watchers.
After the success of the first generation of graduates was apparent, pressure to further improve the super abilities available. The Citizen Project graduates proved to be especially resilient, valuable candidates for experimentation. The Super Soldier program seemed to be reaching its peak, and the government looked to outside researchers for inspiration. Superior subjects and resources allowed them to test the limits of experimentally produced SPBs. Those running the program tend to reject proposals for introducing more spectacular powers into the Citizen Project. The public perception of the graduates is that they are the "pinnacle of humanity," and some of the "less human" powers might disturb this fragile (but valuable) image. The introduction of Variations 4 and 5 have been controversial, but the end results are sufficiently powerful to warrant development. The genetic research for the newer powers (AltPhysStruct: Metal: Modified, Sonic Flight, Super Energy Expulsion) has come from government contractors that convinced the military powers that be to gradually replace much of their technological might with biological might.
Variation 1: "Grunt"
Variation 2: "Marine"
Variation 3: "Infiltrator"
Variation 4: "Tank"
Variation 5: "Jet"
Citizen Project Graduates in the Current Military Complex
There are currently over 10,000 graduates distributed through the various armed forces. About 6000 are the classic Super Solider MarkIV, nearly all of which are combat veterans. There are approximately 1400 Variation 1, 700 Variation 2, 150 Variation 3, 1100 Variation 4 and 900 Variation 5. The newest graduates are nearly all Variation 4 and 5, as these recent additions are viewed as "the wave of the future." The program is increasing in magnitude with every year; in recent years the project has graduated approximately 800 recruits, but classes of nearly 5000 participants are only 6 years away. This year over 10,000 preborn children were accepted into the program. There are approximately 12,000 retired graduates in the US population, many working in civilian law enforcement and security, most of whom would accept a call by their government.
Oppurtunities for Player Characters
In the Heroes Unlimited setting, the Citizen Project could serve as a source of character generation. Players could be a rare rogue graduate, a loyal soldier contracted to civilian interests, a retired graduate, or even a dropout. Dropouts of the program would make ideal candidates for other experimenters to work with, as they have been prepared to accept genetic variation before most prenatal development. These characters would have some non-significant stigma attached to their powers: they didn't want to serve their country, but got "powered up" in the private sector for their own benefit.
Graduates of the Project tend to be more intelligent than average, but rarely have IQ above 16 (see attribute bonuses above). The common assumption is that the most intelligent participants drop out before the final stage to pursue academic interests, but in actuality these individuals are more often secretly recruited to enter classified programs within the military. Participants are nearly always fiercely patriotic and optimistic about the future of the country. They view themselves as the front line of American citizens approaching the future, and as representatives of the country's ideals. They are typically honest, trustworthy, and polite, but are oftentimes cold to people they see as "part of the problem."
Participants at the final stage of the program have the equivalent of a high school education, but enjoy a 15% bonus on their scholastic skills. After graduation, participants entering the armed forces generally recieve the Military Skill Program (+20%), an Espionage Skill program (+20%), and eventually one or two additional programs (+15%) as specialized training. Of course, participants that don't enter the mainstream military for whatever reason could have nearly any educational background by the time character generation is complete.