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ATLAS poster

ATLAS Observatory, home to the program

The ATLAS Program or Atmospheric Terraforming Laser Accelerator System, refers to a military weather modification project at the ATLAS Observatory prior to the Great War. [1]

Background

The ATLAS Program was a weather modification and control project researched and developed at the ATLAS Observatory as a joint project between the Army and Air Force. Under the supervision of Chief Army Scientific Advisor, Major Kirk Bentley the program fell behind schedule. As a result, Bentley was deemed unfit for the role and was replaced by Lieutenant Colonel James Oberlin in January of 2076. Oberlin was given a deadline to produce scalable results for weather control by April or the project's funding would be cut.[2]

By March, Hammond had succeeded in initiating light rainfall across a significant localized area, securing further funding for the ATLAS Program under the condition that Dr. Hammond invests more research into more high energy weather conditions. Additionally, Oberlin gave the ATLAS engineers the go-ahead to initiate construction of the accelerator while continuing to improve the underlying technology of the system.[3] Dr. Hammond and Lieutenant Marcs began calibrating the ion beam accelerator. Progress hit a plateau at the 300 MeV threshold when Micro-variations in the magnetic flux disrupted the Betatron induction loop. Lt. Marcs then created a firmware update for the coil controller to remove the "wobble" and assembly of the main device remained on schedule. Lt. Colonel Oberlin continued to press the research staff to have the program completed by the end of the year. Dr. Hammond noted that the potential for ATLAS project could change the world, but if not carefully handled, could cause catastrophic damage.[4]

By August of 2076, Dr. Hammond had been able to produce a wide variety of weather conditions based on the data his team had brought into the lab, and the prototype was able to produce near-whiteout blizzard conditions, even covering the mountains near Pleasant Valley Ski Resort with fresh snow. Local media took note of the unusual occurrence but did not connect the storms to the program. Tight security, trusted personnel, and an automated security system kept details of the program from leaking out. Lt. Colonel Oberlin met with his chain of command in Washington to go over military applications for the technology. The localized prototype was not ready for wide-scale use in war, but was ready for use in small skirmishes or certain clandestine operations.[5][6]

In August of 2077, the ATLAS project has been fully approved and funded for military applications. Potential applications included in the war effort against China included blanketing the nation in thick black clouds until the crops die out, wiping out naval ports with typhoons, or sending fierce lightning storms against vulnerable air bases to ground air units. Use as a tool to quell any potential domestic uprisings was also a consideration. Lt. Colonel Oberlin's assessment of the ATLAS system showed that it would diminish the threat of all-out nuclear war, and a string of bad weather would not be suspected as an American weapon. With adequate personnel, he believed the project would be completed in the first quarter of 2078.[7]

Sometime later, Lt. Colonel Oberlin received a letter from his superiors in Washington stating that the ATLAS Program was to be shut down, citing "cost-cutting measures," "risk assessment ratios," and "taxpayer responsibilities." A follow-up letter orders him to go back through all the data that Dr. Hammond collected and adjust the values and the results so that ATLAS looked like a failure.[8]. However, these falsifications were not without merit, as Lieutenant Marcs reports indicated a variety of flaws that contributed to the decommissioning of the ATLAS Program, such as stability issues, considerable resource need to create a consistently usable device, coolant need, and various diagnostic faults.[9]

After the Great War, Dr. Hammond continued to work on the program due to the increased importance of weather control and terraforming as a result of post-War conditions. He activated the observatory's automated security bots and converted them to assist in the completion of the ATLAS Program after the military abandoned the facility. Five months after the War, Dr. Hammond was successful in replacing the main lens, finished the particle analysis, and believed the accelerator was finally stable. Dr. Hammond was unable to complete the project, dying before its completion and by 2102 the ATLAS Observatory housing the project is in an unknown state of disrepair.[10]

Known personnel

Notes

Lt. Colonel Oberlin's terminal includes multiple typos and spelling mistakes. The terminal entry discussing the initial notice of program termination was dated 10-18-77, but the later terminal entry and notice to falsify program data was dated 8-22-77. As of One Wasteland For All, the ATLAS decommission reports indicate that the 8-22-77 date is the correct one.

References

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