Jump to content
Wakshaani

The next Primus Avenger Program.

Recommended Posts

For those who've read the rather keen Primus sourcebook from back in the day, you'd know of the rather terrible origins of the Cyberline treatment and the process that creates the Silver and Golden Avengers. That was well over 20 years ago, however, and the world has moved on.

Assuming that the program was exposed and terminated, what would you use to replace it? Would Primus agents go 'cold turkey' and then turn into regular agents? Would Silver Avengers vanish? What replaces them? A new Super Soldier treatment? Androids? Cybernetic upgrades? Everybody wears power armor? Or does the entire organization go belly up from the release of the information and Until just steps in to every area that Primus once filled?

What does Primus 2020 look like to you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it should be noted that while the current official version of PRIMUS still uses a gene therapy called Cyberline, Champions Universe p. 138 notes that "It introduces low-powered superhuman DNA, obtained from several superhumans by Dr. Alexander during his researches, into the Avengers’ bodies via an RNA retrovirus." Implicitly the origin and source of Cyberline isn't as malign and ruthless as the Champions 4E PRIMUS source book describes. (That book was written in 1998, while the Iron Age of comics was still kicking.) ;)

 

However, if you wanted to keep that previous continuity and play the consequences of Cyberline's source being made public -- and resulting in enough public outrage to stop its implementation -- Avengers as portrayed there would likely cease to exist, as neither that version of the Champions American government, nor the current one, has a comparable reliably reproducible alternative. (Note that current PRIMUS only uses Cyberline to create Avengers, not to enhance all its combat agents as in the 4E book.) The likeliest attempt to fill the resulting gap would be an expansion of the ranks of Iron Guard powered-armor troops. If you wanted to draw from the 5E-6E continuity, PRIMUS could turn to the Perseus process used to create the All-American. (See his latest write-up in Champions Universe.) The results aren't as impressive as with Cyberline, but its enhancements have sufficed for a series of All-Americans over several decades.

 

OTOH you could simply choose to say that the public cover story the government used in the 4E and later books -- that Cyberline is a drug therapy and bio-feedback training -- is what it really is and was all along. In fact that's what Cyberline actually was when PRIMUS was introduced in the PRIMUS and DEMON organization book for Champs 3E. Alternatively, said process could have been invented at Department 17, the Defense Department's center for research into creating superhumans (see Champions Universe p. 138), and is now being brought online to replace Cyberline.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is in all likelihood that PRIMUS would use 'lesser' enchantment processes like powered armor and advanced equipment, along with various bio-feedback and intended training and conditioning on their agents. Agents who are wounded in battle could find there origins and limbs replaced by hidden cybernetics. And there is active recruitment of low-level supers (a mix of mutants and accident created supers).

 

Then there is s secret program utilizing psionics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Assuming the Primus program was exposed does not mean it would be terminated. Government organizations get bad press. Whether they are terminated depends on the necessity of their primary function. The primary function of Primus was to process federal crime involving paranormals, that certainly seems necessary. Primus wouldn't stop doing their job, they would just try to do it without calling attention to themselves.
All relevant Primus personnel were given the option to cease Cyberline treatments and be re-assigned; those that did found themselves serving in the Secret Service, the FBI, or even returning to their interrupted military career. Those that didn't take the option continued to utilize the Cyberline process, but with a greatly dialed back intensity and the resultant dialed back results.
The Silver and Gold Avengers vanished, money was spent on upgrading weapons and armor (including powered armor), and the fight went on. The whole thing might have dwindled and finally vanished, if it weren't for the kids. As the various members of Primus aged and began families, the resultant 'bring your kid to work' days had an unexpected benefit. You could question the parenting skills of the Silver Avenger that first exposed his six year old to the Cyberline process, but the results couldn't be denied.
Even the much diluted Cyberline process still in use had phenomenal results when applied to children, so Primus went looking for volunteers. Dropping the metallic code, these new recruits began training as soon as possible. The youngest was six, the average age was nine. Most of them were children of Primus personnel, with a few exceptional children hand-picked by the director. So Primus continues to do it's job.

That's Primus 2020, and I think there would be enough drama within and without to do the legacy proud.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RE children, the PRIMUS source book mentions that Avengers are told the Cyberline treatment makes them sterile, but that's a lie. They're secretly given anti-fertility medications, because the government didn't want to risk a rash of super-powered children being born. If the former Avengers stopped all their treatments, no telling what their progeny might be like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The official setting was rebooted by new owner DOJ Inc. (Steve Long, Darren Watts, Jason Walters, and the "secret masters") in 2002, drawing heavily on what had been published before, but tweaking quite a bit while adding much new stuff. PRIMUS, unfortunately, has not received an updated source book (and it's very unlikely to for the foreseeable future), so the info about it is rather sketchy, and almost all of it is in Champions Universe. Some details from the Fourth Edition PRIMUS book appear to have been carried over, while others were changed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my own game, I was having Primus replace the original program with Cybernetics, and a "mild" form of Cyberline called "Overdrive" with cybernetic drug factories implanted in the new "Bronze Avengers". Primus also started actively recruiting low powered supers to train and equip. That was 20 years ago. All the "Silvers" and "Golds" are retired or deceased. Alien DNA is the new area of research....duh da duhhhh!!! LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, clnicholsusa said:

Assuming the Primus program was exposed does not mean it would be terminated. Government organizations get bad press. Whether they are terminated depends on the necessity of their primary function. The primary function of Primus was to process federal crime involving paranormals, that certainly seems necessary. Primus wouldn't stop doing their job, they would just try to do it without calling attention to themselves.
All relevant Primus personnel were given the option to cease Cyberline treatments and be re-assigned; those that did found themselves serving in the Secret Service, the FBI, or even returning to their interrupted military career. Those that didn't take the option continued to utilize the Cyberline process, but with a greatly dialed back intensity and the resultant dialed back results.

 

I'm not really up on the "why Cyberline was bad" storyline.

 

But I agree: the government is likely to continue using Cyberline unless it's secretly a drug coming from Dr. Destroyer which allows him to control Primus agents at will. If it's just highly addictive and dangerous to the user, the government would re-label it and promise that the "new" formula has the kinks worked out of it and besides all the agents will be closely monitored both medically and in the field in the future.

 

Then they'd go on with business as usual. The government isn't going to give up on having super-powered agents without having super-powered replacements ready to go.

 

You'd have Special Forces operatives lining up around the block to get a drug which would give them superpowers for ten years of intense special ops even if the drug killed them afterward. Getting too old to function and having to go back to civilian life is a nightmare to too many of them for there to not be volunteers.

 

You might get more of a two-tiered Avenger system with "those who can function in public as the 'hearts and minds' kind of operative" and "those who can only function as military assets". But I'm certain they could fill their ranks even with extreme Cyberline side effects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, archer said:

I'm not really up on the "why Cyberline was bad" storyline.

 

Per the 4E PRIMUS source book -- particularly p. 80 -- the Cyberline gene therapy was based on research performed on a Marine engineer from the Korean War named Isaac Rosenberg, who was discovered to possess low-level superhuman abilities the same as the Avengers would later display. Rosenberg was accused by then-Lt. Robert Kaufman, who would one day become the first Golden Avenger, of 'working for the communists" (he did have communist political sympathies, but the charge was implicitly trumped-up). Rosenberg was reported MIA, but was actually shipped back to the States in a comatose state (which he was preserved in for more than forty years) while a geneticist named Dr. Julius Merril conducted decades of clandestine research on his extracted genetic material, under Pentagon sanction. Testing the early Cyberline process on volunteer soldiers, who were told they were testing a new malaria vaccine, resulted in more than a score of deaths, before it was discovered only a small fraction of the population was compatible with Cyberline.

 

Like I said, Iron Age.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Wakshaani said:

Hrm. Good to know! I don't know if I have the newer (newest?) version of Champions Universe or not. I'll have to dig into the closet later, see what's what.

 

The info about it is nearly identical in Champions Universe for Fifth Edition and for Sixth. The only significant additional published material is in relation to two example Silver Avengers, Mayte Sanchez and Barton Stano, in the books covering Millennium City and Vibora Bay, respectively.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

Per the 4E PRIMUS source book -- particularly p. 80 -- the Cyberline gene therapy was based on research performed on a Marine engineer from the Korean War named Isaac Rosenberg, who was discovered to possess low-level superhuman abilities the same as the Avengers would later display. Rosenberg was accused by then-Lt. Robert Kaufman, who would one day become the first Golden Avenger, of 'working for the communists" (he did have communist political sympathies, but the charge was implicitly trumped-up). Rosenberg was reported MIA, but was actually shipped back to the States in a comatose state (which he was preserved in for more than forty years) while a geneticist named Dr. Julius Merril conducted decades of clandestine research on his extracted genetic material, under Pentagon sanction. Testing the early Cyberline process on volunteer soldiers, who were told they were testing a new malaria vaccine, resulted in more than a score of deaths, before it was discovered only a small fraction of the population was compatible with Cyberline.

 

Like I said, Iron Age.

 

That's not nearly as bad as I was imagining.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, archer said:

 

That's not nearly as bad as I was imagining.


Well, "blonde-haired, blue-eyed guy with a German name finds out about SuperJew, has him kidnapped, sedated, and draws blood from him for 50 years to create super-powered agents for an American enforcement agency" can be read a tad problematicly, especially since Kaufman later went all "Kill all the Muties!" and had facist overtones.

His replacement's better. :D

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, pinecone said:

Oh, and howdy. Haven't seen you on Dakka in a long while. You'll be glad to hear Pyrovores get used these days, and even see play in tourneys. :)


Still swing by! Thrilled to hear about my babies. :D Professional writing work keeps me busy most of the time, these days. 23 RPG books released and counting. Phew!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Wakshaani said:


Well, "blonde-haired, blue-eyed guy with a German name finds out about SuperJew, has him kidnapped, sedated, and draws blood from him for 50 years to create super-powered agents for an American enforcement agency" can be read a tad problematicly, especially since Kaufman later went all "Kill all the Muties!" and had facist overtones.

 

 

Since that wasn't written into the explanation I was given, I had a problem reading it that way....

 

Silly me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For a good resource on this stuff I like the movie “The Bourne Legacy” best.  That’s the one that starred Jeremy (Hawkeye) Renner.  It covers the whole how the two different retro viruses would work together thing very well, and seeing the drugs turn him into a modern version of Captain America gives me a special giggle.

   Plus it’s a decent movie on it’s own.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, archer said:

 

That's not nearly as bad as I was imagining.

 

If "soldier who committed no crime was kidnapped by his own military and kept comatose for decades while being experimented on, and his DNA extracted and killed twenty-two volunteers who were lied to about what they volunteered for" isn't as bad as you imagined... I don't think I want to know what that was. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Wakshaani said:


Well, "blonde-haired, blue-eyed guy with a German name finds out about SuperJew, has him kidnapped, sedated, and draws blood from him for 50 years to create super-powered agents for an American enforcement agency" can be read a tad problematicly, especially since Kaufman later went all "Kill all the Muties!" and had facist overtones.

His replacement's better. :D

 

I hadn't thought of the implications of juxtaposing Robert Kaufman with Isaac Rosenberg, but now that you bring it up I have to wonder whether that was done deliberately by the author.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

If "soldier who committed no crime was kidnapped by his own military and kept comatose for decades while being experimented on, and his DNA extracted and killed twenty-two volunteers who were lied to about what they volunteered for" isn't as bad as you imagined... I don't think I want to know what that was. :(

 

The US military experimented to figure out whether it was safe to have soldiers walk across ground zero of a nuclear blast shortly after it happened by having soldiers en masse walk across ground zero of a nuclear blast shortly after it happened. This was after they'd developed larger nukes not the ones like they used in Japan.

 

For all the government knew at the time, it could have killed all of them within a few hours or days. And they weren't exactly honest with the soldiers about how safe it was when the soldiers got their marching orders.

 

I mean, 22 is bad. But I doubt that matches real life CIA drug testing, much less what the government considered to be acceptable losses in a worst case scenario with the nuke experiments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my own games I always kept the original definition of Cyberline as drug plus biofeedback training. The need for daily "boosters" of Cyberline for the Avengers to keep their powers seems more in line with a drug than a gene therapy. The latter also smacks of substituting an origin that was fashionable at the time the book was written. I suppose there could have been an anti-drug political correctness at play as well; but having superheroes become addicted to a drug as the price for their powers sounds pretty Iron Agey to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, archer said:

 

The US military experimented to figure out whether it was safe to have soldiers walk across ground zero of a nuclear blast shortly after it happened by having soldiers en masse walk across ground zero of a nuclear blast shortly after it happened. This was after they'd developed larger nukes not the ones like they used in Japan.

 

For all the government knew at the time, it could have killed all of them within a few hours or days. And they weren't exactly honest with the soldiers about how safe it was when the soldiers got their marching orders.

 

I mean, 22 is bad. But I doubt that matches real life CIA drug testing, much less what the government considered to be acceptable losses in a worst case scenario with the nuke experiments.

 

So, we're skating over the whole "innocent man made to disappear by his government and kept unconscious as a lab animal for nearly half a century, his genetic code stolen, reproduced and used without his permission or knowledge" side of the equation?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

So, we're skating over the whole "innocent man made to disappear by his government and kept unconscious as a lab animal for nearly half a century, his genetic code stolen, reproduced and used without his permission or knowledge" side of the equation?

Well, it is better than a small batch of minor mentalist killed, and there physical brains studied, their brains cloned and pieces of them grafted onto the brains of others to create new psionic agents.

 

"We're with the government, and we here to help."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

So, we're skating over the whole "innocent man made to disappear by his government and kept unconscious as a lab animal for nearly half a century, his genetic code stolen, reproduced and used without his permission or knowledge" side of the equation?

 

 

What about the real world “colored” prisoners during the ‘30’s who were intentionally infected with syphilis and not treated to see what would happen.  Or Henrietta Lacks, who’s blood samples were harvested, have improved medicine for generations and only recently has her contribution been acknowledged but still never adequately paid for.

     This shit happens all the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...