Somnus Initiative refers to a Navy black project that started in August 2077 at Sugar Grove and focused on turning abducted Americans into sleeper agents for use in operations on domestic soil. The name is Latin for sleep.
On average, an abductee would take three days to process at Sugar Grove. The length of time was a constant concern for the project director, as it forced them to use individuals with no immediate family. Attempts to reduce the average and the suspicion generated by the sudden absence were unsuccessful. Targets were chosen due to a variety of factors, such as the ability to move around without suspicion. For example, Sugar Grove might abduct a Park Ranger due to the natural cover story the job provides, or people known for habitual drinking due to their low profile and ease of creating cover stories.
The analysts working at Sugar Grove were told that the victims of the Initiative were external contractors, and ordered to avoid all contact (they were only supposed to contact the facility's command staff and handlers) and report them immediately to Sugar Grove Marine detachment if they ever see them without an escort.
However, there were problems with the Initiative and the programming. The aforementioned Park Ranger had to be decommissioned due to concerns about his hearing problems, compounded by an injury he sustained in the line of duty, while substance abuse tended to increase the resilience to programming.
Despite expectations, individuals with lower mental aptitude were actually worse for the program than more intelligent individuals. Smarter people were better able to carry out orders without error and can improvise to occlude their purpose if they are caught. Factors other than intelligence seemed to influence malleability.
The project director decided against using underage subjects in the Initiative, as while the programming took hold with ease, the developing mind was essentially broken: with the case of Martin Aarsen, the abducted orphan showed little ability or desire to do anything but follow explicit orders, eliminating all basic self-preservation instincts. That's not to say adult subjects fared better if care wasn't taken: In one notable instance, a subject came back, bleeding, covered in lacerations, and missing an arm after an apparent bear attack, blissfully unaware that that anything was wrong. Operatives had to scrub the blood trail but inspired exploration of Somnus capabilities for use on the battlefield. Both cases also highlighted the need for developing a reliable deprogramming process, although none seemed to be created before the Great War.
The exploration of Somnus as a battlefield conditioning tool led to an experiment where an avid hiker was programmed with a wide range of combat tactics, mostly revolving around martial arts. She showed much promise in accepting these techniques, completely unaware to her conscious self... And promptly foiled a bank robbery in subsequent weeks using hand-to-hand combat, with no recollection of the incident. Luckily for the project, the official newsprint story attributes it to a sudden instinctual rush of adrenaline triggered by the stress of the situation.
Behind the scenesEdit
The name of the initiative is derived from Somnus, the Roman god of sleep.
- ↑ Sugar Grove terminal entries: "Project SOMNUS Director's Terminal"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Sugar Grove terminal entries: "General Notes"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Sugar Grove terminal entries: "Somnus Agent DMS736"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Sugar Grove terminal entries: "Somnus Agent HGR242"
- ↑ Sugar Grove terminal entries: "8-19-77: External Contractors"
- ↑ Sugar Grove terminal entries: "Somnus Agent AJM1068"
- ↑ Sugar Grove terminal entries: "Somnus Agent EFB825"
- ↑ Sugar Grove terminal entries: "Somnus Agent SEL1249"