|This article, Project Knight, was written by Actene. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
|This article, Project Knight, is currently under active construction.|
- "You can't fight a monster if you don't have a monster of your own. We had to create the Knights in order to survive."
Project KNIGHT was a program undertaken by the Humanity Liberation Front group in the hopes of utilizing for military purposes. Using DNA samples and physiological scans taken from the traitor Simon-G294, they performed a variety of cloning experiments in the hopes of creating supersoldiers who could match up against the UNSC's Spartans on the battlefield. HLF field commander Redmond Venter was placed in charge of the project despite his vocal opposition to the concept. Though he loyally carried out his duties, Venter spent very little time overseeing it personally and instead delegating project responsibilities to subordinates and external contractors.
The KNIGHT program was eventually taken over by the Syndicate. With the criminal empire's enormous resources the project was greatly expanded and revised under project lead Tatiana Onegin, with the intent of mass cloning an army of enhanced soldiers to be used as the Syndicate's enforcers throughout its territory.
- "Oh, it's just a little side project I like to throw money at every once in a while. I enjoy watching Ramal and the others work and besides, I've never been afraid of needles."
- ―Tobias Lensky regarding his genetics research
The experiment that created Project Knight was never intended to approach anything resembling clone mass-production. When Tobias Lensky, founder of the Syndicate criminal empire, grew bored with his comfortable marriage on Iskander he amused himself by dabbling in experimental genetics research. Using his own genome as a template, Lensky funded research into making the human genome more compatible with the various biological augmentations growing popularity across both military and civilian industries. The underworld power broker casually reached out to his contacts within the for help with the research; intrigued by the possibilities of such experiments, specifically their potential applications to the supersoldier program, an ONI scientist named Emily Ford agreed to provide limited amounts of funding and research data to Lensky's side project. After several years of on-and-off research, Lensky succeeded in modifying his own genome enough to allow his body to accept several minor augmentation procedures it otherwise would have rejected. After ONI encouraged him to continue the research, Lensky set his sights on a far more ambitious goal: modifying the genome en utero to create an individual tailored to receive any manner of biological augmentations.
- "All these rich families wasting their time and money on their precious designer babies. Who cares if the kid's some handsome genius? I'm giving you a genetic blank slate. Do whatever the hell you want with the kid, his genome can take it."
- ―Tobias Lensky
Since his own genome had proven so receptive to the artificial changes, Lensky chose to experiment on one of his own progeny: the son carried by his mistress, Tatiana Onegin. Under the pretense of routine medical examinations, Lensky had his science team tamper with the fetus in order to create a genetic code highly receptive to artificial improvement. Lensky's research risked a miscarriage, but Tatiana's son was born without incident. Lensky observed Arthur's development over several years to ensure that his genetic "enhancements" had taken hold. Once satisfied that the boy could develop naturally in spite of the tampering, Lensky moved on to an even more audacious scheme. Rather than interfering with a naturally-conceived fetus he would instead experiment solely on his own genetic code to create an individual he could control at every stage of development. In a highly risky cloning process, Lensky used his own heavily modified DNA to create a fetus that he then implanted in Tatiana without her knowledge. After forcing Tatiana to carry the pregnancy to term, Lensky was satisfied to see a healthy child produced in spite of his alterations.
- "It's sloppy work. No solid objective, no long term research strategy. There's no way we can apply this to any of our existing programs. Take the research, do whatever you want with the subjects. But this is the last time we use classified assets to indulge the whims of some eccentric."
- ―Emily Ford
The first phase of the program was actually a series of several different experiments intended to determine the future of the program. The principle science team charged with conducting the project used the DNA provided by Venter to create the clones while a secondary team analyzed the data gathered from Simon's body to recreate theused to enhance his physical abilities. With so many unknowns and variables involved with the highly experimental project, the rebel teams utilized several different methods to produce viable human clones. The majority of the Phase I Knights were flash-cloned into early maturity in a matter of months, their developing brains imprinted with basic knowledge of language, human interaction, and combat techniques. These clones were all created entirely from Simon's DNA; of the twelve "pure stock" clones created, only seven survived incubation. Those that survived soon displayed a variety of physical and mental health problems commonly associated with flash cloning, their minds and bodies rapidly degrading over a short period of time. Three died outright while a fourth went berserk soon into his training and had to be killed after he murdered one of his fellow clones. Ultimately, only two of the flash clones survived long enough to be molded into viable field agents. Although still opposed to the project Venter took it upon himself to oversee the two survivors' further training and deployment. Concurrent with the flash clone proceedings, two more Knight embryos were created through slower, less risky procedures. Of these, one was another pure stock clone while the other was spliced with DNA from several volunteers after the science team discovered that Simon's genetic material was highly compatible with foreign sources. This modified embryo unexpectedly produced twin eggs, which were implanted in an artificial womb alongside the unmodified egg. These eggs were subjected to development-acceleration similar to the flash clones, but only to the approximate age of five years old. Imprinted with the same flash learning as their accelerated brothers, all three clones survived incubation. The pure clone was male, as was one of the twins, but the second twin's modified genes caused it to develop as a female.