Mundus Novit: Painting the Project Black

Something that is hiding in the background of Dark Horizons but is front and centre in Mundus Novit is the Black Project. There are more than a few Black Projects revealed in the Mundus Novit sourcebook. What do I mean by Black Projects?

From the sourcebook:

Sometimes the government acts for the good of the nation, but in ways it thinks best to keep from that nation. The general public, after all, doesn’t see the big picture. It doesn’t understand that sometimes the ends do justify the means. But even if the government wanted to share information regarding all its projects and operations, national security often does not allow it. Are you going to broadcast to your enemy everything that you are doing? Of course not.

Since the Second World War, governments have embarked on many projects hidden in the shadows. The budget for these projects is disguised, mislabeled, nonexistent. These black projects have produced some amazing advances; they have protected nations and averted war. They have also perpetrated suffering and ignored injustices.

You have to look at the Big Picture.

Now, if you aren’t interested in a look behind the curtain, to see one of the prime motivators for all the action in Dark Horizons, move along. Nothing to see here.

For those of you interested in what is going on in the shadows, the stuff that none of the protagonists knows about, read on.

After the Trigger Event, many academics and researchers wondered if perhaps paranormal powers of the mind were not confined to someone amazing like Kreskin. While the scientific community sought to answer its own question, a rogue element within the CIA decided to try to purpose-build ESPers. Using the already identified Oberon virus, a secret operation piggy-backed itself onto a legitimate DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) research project. Not only did Crosswind seek to create ESPers, it sought to create super-soldier ESPers.

Who? The actual mastermind behind Crosswind has not been revealed, though the project was backed by a rogue CIA group. The lead scientist, aware of the true purpose of Crosswind and its true master, was Dr. Jean Howlett. She had already proved herself through another secret project involving the Oberon virus. In order to have her manage Crosswind, she was given control of a small unit called the Technical and Sciences Group (TSG). She leads a very small scientific staff, all officially working in the TSG.

What? Using the research network and resources of DARPA, Crosswind was to create task-oriented ESPer spies and assassins that would be further enhanced using what the TSG referred to as Oberon X. No single group or organization involved in the research would be privy to the entire plan. Only Crosswind would have all the data, and it would be the Crosswind team who would try to synthesize Oberon X.

Where? While the DARPA project had been outsourced to a variety of research facilities and academic institutions, the black part of the project was conducted at a facility code-named St. Martin. The location of St. Martin has never been revealed.

How? The CIA backchannel funded a DARPA research program into parapsych known as Emphasis. Project Emphasis sought to clinically prove the existence of parapsychic powers. The Trigger Event sparked renewed interest in the paranormal, and Emphasis was one of multiple projects undertaken publically by DARPA and other research organizations.

While the results had not yet been released, a rogue element within the CIA known as Tacit Spear gained access to them. The Emphasis data strongly indicated proof of parapsychic powers. Tacit Spear initiated Crosswind through the Technical and Sciences Group, a small unit within the CIA’s Special Activities Division mandated to assist in operations for the acquisition of technology or scientific research.

Tacit Spear had co-opted the Technical and Sciences Group soon after that unit’s formation. TSG took control of Emphasis and buried the data, while at the same time farming out other experiments and research directives based around the hypothesis that a parapysh could be purpose built with a specific suite of ESPer abilities. Further, Crosswind included genetic research based on the Oberon virus.

When? Emphasis began in May of 2005. The participating institutions believe the project to be ongoing, however, Tacit Spear initiated Crosswind in January of 2008. At this time, Crosswind may have successfully created a purpose-built ESPer using Oberon X, but this has not been verified.

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