Mars City Shadowrun
Augmented Soldier Program
A legend in the shadows, this was one of the origin points for the cyberzombie-building Gilgamesh Initiative.
The Augmented Soldier Program was an experimental program invented by Aztechnology to enable mundane, but well trained, soldiers to connect to the mana flow, essentially in order to manufacture physical adepts. If this had paid off in full, it would have ensured Azzies domination of the playing field. Unfortunately, even for a megacorp, this program was ridiculously expensive, and when they weren’t turning up worthwhile results quickly enough, they abandoned it. Rumor is, some scientists who worked on the project shopped their services around after its collapse, although they only turned up one willing buyer: Israel. Willing to take chances, and spend money, that other countries and corps weren’t, Israel embraced many dangerous programs in the early and mid-21st century, wanting to make sure that they maintained their military dominance of the region in the awakened world. Some of these programs resulted in cyber-golems: near-unstoppable, but slow moving, and primarily good for defense. Israel decided that, in the face of the resurgent Caliphate, they needed something with a little more offensive capabilities. Thus, the ASP moved to the Middle East. It is unknown how much Aztechnology remained involved, but they surely didn’t let some of their top researchers go for free.
The program’s early results were failures of terrible sorts: the magic energy that flowed into the “volunteers” often overwhelmed and destroyed their bodies and minds in terrible ways. Those that survived the initial astral link were often later killed by spirits, goaded to attack by the soldier’s unnatural astral presence. The first few batches produced few survivors, and those that did last were deemed too unstable, and liquidated. Their families were told they died in an accident during training. Sightings of one of the program members have been reported, but are unsubstantiated, and seem unlikely to be true, given Israel’s tight physical and data security, as well as the long reach of their hit squads. If he does still exist, though, there’s sure to be a mighty high price on his head.
The program was sent back to the researchers to re-do their plans and calculations based upon this new test data. By 2070, Israel’s investments have finally paid off, under a new name and oversight. This new unit was announced with a series of brutal raids on enemy sites in the region. supposedly, many members of this new ASP unit enter combat protected solely by sacred Talmudic verse tattooed in glowing script on their bodies. This is hard to verify, as most instances of this unit’s appearance leave behind only corpses. The Caliphate has not been resting idly while Israel developed and deployed superweapons, of course. High in the mountains and deep in the valleys of the Middle East, ancient sects and cults are said to have reappeared-rumors of an Old Man of the Mountain and his Order of the Assassins abound.
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