|This article, Project CHISEL, was written by Specops306. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
- "You think we're monsters, don't you? We were fighting for the survival of our entire species - be glad you're alive to benefit from our work. You think all those Spartans would have been possible without CHISEL? Or the TROJANs or VOLSUNGs?"
- ―Colonel Harold Pharzi
The war against the Covenant saw the UNSC desperately pour resources into any program that might possibly yeild results against such a technologically and numerically advanced civilisation - supersoldier programs, such as SPARTAN-II, SPARTAN-III, TROJAN, VOLSUNG and others were given precedence after the complete success of the original CMA ORION Program. Difficulties were encountered, however, at all stages - armament would require advanced weaponry and powered armour innovations that would take years to perfect, and would never produce satisfactory results on any significant scale; training too was a problem, given the unprecedented nature of such warfighters; but by far the worst hurdle was the augmentation process that produced warfighters with superior strength, speed, reflexes, and tactical and strategic brilliance. The first two would advance in staccatto bursts as the various programs fielded supersoldiers against the Covenant, but almost all of the augmentation procedures after the original SPARTAN-II Program would be based on one program which would come back to haunt the UNSC - CHISEL.
As the Covenant rampaged through the colonies, refugees began to pour into the Inner Colonies and onto Earth itself in staggering numbers. Barely able to sustain the influx, never mind resettlement and rehabilitation, many of these men, women and children would find themselves homeless and unregistered on the Colonial Civilian Grid, forced to live on the streets and fend for themselves by any means they could find. Sadly, many colonists would be exploited by unscrupulous profiteers - many would find work as prostitutes, sweat shop labour, or as employees of organised crime. Some would find their unregistered status a help, especially in dealing with law enforcement authorities who would be unable to find any trace of these individuals, but most would be ignored and overlooked by the organisations meant to protect and care for them - making them a prime target for a super-secret research and development cell of the Office of Naval Intelligence.
Indications are that the first operations conducted by CHISEL staff took place on Troy, a prime refugee resettlement world - colonists were taken by black unmarked vans, taken to a secret location and inducted into the program. Some pretences may have been made at "recruiting" volunteers - offers of re-registration and positions within society were made to some, while for others overtures were made with promises of money. Criminal organisations were occasionally recruited by CHISEL to take large numbers of "subjects" when CHISEL found itself overstretched. Once taken, either willingly or unwillingly, the subjects were kept sedated in isolation chambers, allowed the minimum required nutritional intake and physical exercise, before being experimented upon.
A number of different project aims have been discovered - some subjects were injected with drugs intended to dramatically improve muscle density, with the hope of perfecting dosage - some subjects literally wasted away, regardless of medical aid, while others found themselves being torn apart by their own movements, their skeletons crushed by the strength and density of their own muscles. More were blinded during ocular implant experiments, or neurologically crippled by attempts at improving the neuron conduction within the brain and the integration of neural implants with the brain stem. By far the biggest killer, however, would be those who suffered being injected by the ceramic-carbide ossification, integrating a layer of ceramic carbine around the bone, creating virtually unbreakable skeletons - the process itself was risky, but worse still was the repair tests made by CHISEL, observing how surviving subjects reacted to augmented bones that were broken by extreme stresses. No satisfactory procedure for repairing broken augmented bones was ever found, and it was eventually concluded that total replacement was neccessary - another lengthy and risky process that required testing on these subjects. Subjects would be separated into groups determined by gender, ethnicity, and age - male and female children, teens, adolescents, adults and elderly were all subjected to these cruel treatments, testing whether these factors contributed to the results. More than two thousand people are estimated to have been victims of CHISEL, with most killed during the project itself - the rest were killed wien it was shut down, to eliminate "evidence."
These horrific experiments continued, on Troy and on another half dozen colonies, until 2548 when the project was disbanded fearing attracting the attention of authorities it could neither decieve nor bribe. During this time, the valuable information gathered would be used to dramatically improve survivability of augmented supersoldiers created by the UNSC, reducing mortality rates to nearly 0%, especially among the SPARTAN-III Program. Personnel who had been a part of CHISEL would subsequently disappear, either into the private sector among bioengineering and experimental medical companies, or within other projects within ONI, reassigned by the project leader pulling favours owed. Most personnel would never be captured, though a number of them would be found assassinated by unknown forces - members of the project leadership would be tracked down and arrested by personnel from Operation: VORAUSSICHT, prosecuted with war crimes against humanity and incarcerated or executed for their crimes. Rumours that some were able to be covertly extracted by another project without the knowledge of VORAUSSICHT, ONI or the UNSC are persistent, and have been followed up on. When the results of Operation: VORAUSSICHT's investigations was leaked to the public in 2563, most of the resulting fallut was caused by the revalation of CHISEL, and it was only by a masterful propaganda, disinformation and image rehabilitation campaign that saw ONI deflect the worst of the resulting public outcry.
- "Six-year-olds crushed to death by their own muscles. Old men and women with their bones on fire, and people slaughtered just so ONI could improve its augmentation procedures. I've fought alongside Spartans, both II's and III's, and when they found out even they were appalled and disgusted."
- "The only good thing that can possibly be said about it is that even ONI didn't approve it. It's nice to know there's still some limits to their morality, even if they are way at the far end of the spectrum."
- "When we found OXFORD on Raptors Nest, SHOGUN was livid. Apprehended for his work on CHISEL, then somehow smuggled out to work on ACCRETION, then finally studying those things on VENATOR? Someone must be very well placed!"
- "When we returned to Troy, ONI built a memorial to the victims of CHISEL, as well as a museum, as a gesture of good will in 2564, as part of its emergency PR campaign. What irritates me more is that it worked too."
Behind the Scenes
- CHISEL was inspired by a number of real-life human experimentation programs, most notably those conducted by Nazi Germany against Jews, Gypsies, other ethnic groups, homosexuals and other political prisoners, and by the Imperial Japanese Army on prisoners of war and even its own citizens, including women and children. The author would like to note that others have tried their own projects, and that few modern "world leaders" have hands that are unbloodied.