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"Before Dr. Halsey's so-called SPARTAN-IIs, we started VALKYRIE. This was more like the second-generation ORION, but instead theyw ere faster, stronger and clever. They are similar to the S-IIs, but instead have an open mind that allows them to speak freely, to understand feelings and exhibit emotions. Like it or not, they're the predecessors to the SPARTAN-IIs."
Project VALKYRIE is the name given to a secret project initiated by ONI as an experimental program in achieving augmented soldiers. Project VALKYRIE started at the time when most of the recruits who would later be selected for the SPARTAN-II Program were born. VALKYRIE consisted of typical children inducted at an age of nine to eleven years, provided about eleven years of training and then given experimental augmentations which were superior to those of the ORION Project but inferior to the SPARTAN-II project.
Started around 2513 by the former ORION operative and important ONI figure Andrew Johnson, VALKYRIE was much more secretive than the first ORION batch, and only the recruits and their parents knew of the program, and also some high-ranking ONI officers such as then-Vice AdmiralMargaret Orlenda Parangosky and ColonelJames Ackerson. Thus, not many people outside the aforementioned knew of the program.
The Project in its early years was a success, with thirty suitable candidates successfully inducted. They were brought to a UNSC Military Training Base 09174-D, codenamed "Cliffhanger" on the colony of Reach, exactly on the opposite side of the FLEETCOM Military Complex on Reach, where the SPARTAN-IIs trained. They were trained for around eleven years, before becoming active in 2524, one year before the S-IIs became active. The experimental augmentations made it possible for the recruits to wear the sophisticated MJOLNIR Mark IV armor, though they were later given more augmentations in 2552 to be able to wear later iterations of the armor.
Project VALKYRIE's earliest origins can be traced back to 2511, five years after ORION's deactivation. ORION's second batch with the new experimental augmentations was shut down after the disaster of Operation: TANGLEWOOD which, although successful, resulted in many deaths of the ORION operatives. However, Andrew Johnson, a former member of the original ORION project, stated that ORION must be reactivated, in a new form. He suggested using children as the test subjects, training them from the age of nine such that they are more effective than the previous batch of ORION soldiers, a move that would be made in the SPARTAN-II program as well. Although it was criticized by some people like Colonel James Ackerson, others like Vice Admiral Margaret Parangosky and CaptainNed Rich were interested in it. Against Ackerson's' objections, the project was given the green light to start.
However, before its activation, a few changes were made. Johnson found out that these newer augmentations had a higher fatality rate since the recruits were children. In order to compensate for that, the recruits had to be physically and mentally stronger than the average human, in order to survive the augmentations and decrease the fatality rate. This problem was solved when Captain Rich proposed using the children of former ORION operatives, who would later be called as Spartan 1.1s, as the recruits of the program. These children were already strong, intelligent and agile due to their inheritance of their parents' ORION genes, and were superior to the typical human being. Although it was opposed at first, soon many ORION operatives volunteered to send their children to the program, and many Spartan 1.1 orphans were also recruited. The Project finally started in 2513, with thirty recruits.
The thirty selected candidates were recruited and taken via the UNSC Andraste, an Impulse-class stealth frigate. After a month of collecting all the recruits, they were taken to Reach in March 2513. Their head trainer was Gunnery Sergeant Bryant Wilmer, a veteran Marine of the Insurrection. A total of ten DIs trained the recruits for the duration of eleven years. The recruits were not kept in regular touch with their parents, as Wilmer feared family relations would divert them from their training. Education and knowledge was managed by the "Dumb" AI 'Gagarin'. It oversaw the training, requirements and everything else that was daily in the program.
Although VALKYRIE's focus wasn't more on teamwork, teams were also made during many training sessions to encourage teamwork which would later help them later in their battle against the Covenant. Recruits were divided into teams of three, and each team's name was given by Victor followed by a number, for example, Victor-Seven. Most of VALKYRIE's training, however, was focused on 'lone-wolf' or 'duo' tactics, similar to the training used later by the Headhunters program. This molded the recruits into being able to manage on their own deep behind enemy lines. However, when the Human-Covenant war started, VALKYRIE soldiers worked as a two-member team in their encounters, as they were primarily used in stealth operations.
Their training took a break in 2522 when they were given the experimental augmentations that transformed them into super-soldiers, and they were given time to recover, but the training continued after a gap of three to four months. Training was finally finished in 2524, a year earlier than the SPARTAN-II program that was running alongside VALKYRIE, although they were not fully related with each other. VALKYRIE was well-executed, and with proper planning and strict rules and regulations, the Project conceived some great results in the recruits' abilities.
The huge success of VALKYRIE persuaded Andrew Johnson, who requested for a second generation of the Project, with the target number of recruits being fifty this time. ONI, who were very impressed by the results of the Project, gave a green-light for Andrew Johnson to start preparing for the second-generation. This time the age limit was extended to above fourteen years too, and new training methods were adopted.
This time, the recruits were from various standards, some of them were Spartan 1.1s, some of them were SPARTAN-II washouts, either before the program or during the augmentations, while some of them were regular humans with enhanced abilities by birth. Preparations were almost done, and the Project was about to start when it suffered a huge drawback.
Around the same time VALKYRIE was about to launch its second phase, Colonel Ackerson came up with the idea of the SPARTAN-III Program, a cheaper and more expendable version of the SPARTAN-II program. For this, the funding for various different projects was diverted to Ackerson's brainchild. Unfortunately, VALKYRIE too was one of the projects in that case. When Johnson objected, Parangosky replied that the SPARTAN-III program was a much effective program. Thus, VALKYRIE was deactivated and shut down, with its existence totally buried by ONI.