The Artemis Project
Summary: In the mid-1990s, six new-borns were taken from their families and subjected to gene treatment, giving them animal-like abilities. Now young adults; they are released into the world and become the Hunters, a vigilante team, dealing with the growing number of inhuman crimes. However, the truth of their lives has been hidden from the six and a lead to the past puts the future of their team, and more, in jeopardy.
Chapter 1: The Past is Prologue
St Thomas' Hospital, London – 2036:
Dr Brie Orin was sitting in the waiting room of the hospital. However, unlike the people around her, she wasn't waiting to see a doctor or some medical official; she was there to take something, or more appropriately, someone. Dressed in civilian clothes, she watched as two agents, disguised as a pair of parents, walked through the waiting room and out of the hospital with the target: a new-born with a specific set of genes, making them a perfect subject for the project. This was the sixth and final subject. A few moments after the 'parents' and child had left, Dr Orin stood and exited. She joined the two agents in the van parked outside, which then drove off to the facility. Another agent inside the hospital, a doctor at the hospital who was responsible for getting the children the parents, was to inform the baby's actual parents that the child had passed away. To make it seem authentic, a stillborn baby was used as a replica to convince the parents.
It seems wrong Thought Brie But it's for the right reasons
Six children had been taken to test the six variants of the 'Artemis Serum', a gene therapy developed after the development of long-term gene replacement, and the rise of transhumanism, in the hope of imbuing animal characteristics, such as speed, strength and agility. The project was privately funded, and was completely confidential from governments and the authorities. Three boys and three girls had been taken due to special genetic markers, inherited from both parents, which made them appropriate subjects for the gene therapy. Each was named for the type of gene therapy they would undergo. The first taken was a girl who they named Arielle. She would be subjected to the 'Lion' variant. The next oldest was a boy who was named Caleb, who would be subjected to the 'Wolf' variant of the serum. The third child was a boy who was called Astor, who would be subjected to the 'Hawk' variant of the serum. The next child was a girl who they called Tanith, the subject of the 'Snake' serum variant. The penultimate child was a boy who they named Bernard, who would be subjected to the 'Bear' serum variant. The youngest child, who Dr Orin and the operative team were currently driving to the facility, was a girl who they called Minerva, who would be subjected to the 'Owl' serum variant.
Artemis Facility, Classified Location – 2041:
A group of four and five year olds were standing impatiently in the playroom/observation room of the facility, dressed in thick winter coats, hats and gloves. There had been large developments in the fields of winter wear, with super-thin coats able to come with Arctic temperatures, but these were excessively expensive. Plus, it would make the six children seem conspicuous. While five of the children were excited to be voyaging into the outside world, Minerva or Minnie was nervously clinging to the leg of her carer; each child has a separate carer, a surrogate parent of sorts. As far as the children were aware, their carers were their parents. Seeing the fear present on Minnie's face, Caleb walked over to the scared girl. Dr Orin, who was standing on the other side of the one-way glass of the room, smiled at this. Many of the children were already showing the mental aspects of their variant. It was to be expected, considering their genetics. Caleb was quite caring, always making sure that the other five were alright, as well as incredibly protective. Minnie was quite smart, especially for her age, having learnt to read before any of the other subjects and before most average children, according to Artemis technicians who were parents themselves. The amount of workers involved in Artemis, thought Dr Orin, had dropped considerably, with many of the operatives who helped obtain the subjects leaving, as they weren't needed. The scientist numbers had been greatly reduced, as well, as many were chemical engineers with skills which were, for the moment, not required. All who was left was a team of a dozen or so doctors, including Dr Orin, as well as the carers. Some had left on ethical grounds, believing that it was wrong for the project to go forwards. However, these individuals were bound by an NDA, where the sanction would be worse than persecution. This had seemed to scare those who left enough to remain silent. Back to the present, and Caleb was talking to Minnie. Then, the pair walked together over to the other four children. Minnie was now smiling, her confidence boosted by whatever Caleb said. The six children were talking, while waiting for the car that would take them to the park. It was a short walk from the facility, but the windows of the large car were blacked out, except for the front window, which would be blocked from sight. This was all part of the safety measure to make sure that one of the children don't accidentally reveal the location of the facility. Soon enough, the car arrived and the children were bundled in.
Soon thought Dr Orin Soon, they'll find out about who they are
Artemis Facility, Classified Location – 2048:
Six eleven and twelve year olds were sitting in the facility's mock-up of a classroom, and their teacher had just left the classroom. Just outside of the door stood Dr Orin, preparing to enter the classroom; today was the day that the six would find out about their abilities. All six had begun to show physical abilities linked to the variant of the serum they had been treated with. She was pretty sure that Caleb could sense her presence, as his hearing and sense of smell had been enhanced. Brie entered the room and faced the six teenagers. She could see the confusion spread over the expressions of all six. She also noticed a bit of curiosity in the faces of Tanith and Minerva. The only person who was allowed to call Minerva Minnie was Caleb. The pair was incredibly close, with both attempting to protect the other. This was in Caleb's nature due to the serum, and Minerva took inspiration from how much he was protective of her.
"Good afternoon, Arielle, Astor, Bernard, Caleb, Minerva, Tanith." Greeted Dr Orin. "My name is Dr Brie Orin. As you may have already noticed, you six are very unique. We've kept you apart from normal children for your entire life. You have unique genetics giving you special abilities. Each one of you has unique abilities, and you will be trained to harness them."
This was partly true. They did have the special abilities, but they weren't born with these abilities.
There were a few moments of silence, as Dr Orin let the revelation sink in.
"When does the training start?" Asked Tanith.
"We can get started right now." Replied Dr Orin. "You have your very own trainer for your abilities."
Dr Orin led the six preteenagers to a large training hall inside the facility. There were treadmills along one side. There was a climbing wall inset into one of the hall's walls. Standing in the centre of the room was the six separate trainers. Each was an operative, and some were even involved with taking the children, back in 2036. Each wore a jacket with a tribal design of an animal on the shoulder, dependent on the child they would be training. When the children entered, all of the trainers walked towards them, stopping in front of their trainee. The separate trainers introduced themselves. Caleb's trainer, who had a design of a wolf howling on his shoulder, was called Hunter. Minerva's trainer, with a design of an Owl on her arm, was called Jana. Tanith's trainer, whose design showed a snake ready to pounce, was called Carla. Astor's trainer, with a design of a hawk in flight on his shoulder, was called Remus. Arielle's trainer, whose design showed a lion roaring, was called Natalie. Finally, Donavan's trainer, whose design showed a bear on its hind quarters, was called Byron. Introductions were shared between the trainers and children. After this, the children were taken separate directions, depending on the various skills. Caleb, Minerva, and Astor would all have agility training. Caleb and Minerva would also train their enhanced senses, alongside Bernard. Arielle would train her strength with Bernard. Speed training involved Arielle, Caleb, and Tanith. Accuracy training was for Minerva, Tanith, and Astor. Basically, all six children would require specific and extensive training. Dr Orin, satisfied with how the children were getting on, left to a lab within the facility where they were keeping a constant eye on each of the six's vitals. The six were all in relatively good shape, but they were still monitored. Due to the uniqueness of the project, it was unsure whether the therapy would have any long term impacts on the children's health. All the vitals seemed to be fine, correlating with what would be expected at that age when doing exercise.
And so it begins Thought Dr Orin.