|This article, SPARTAN Program (Matt-256), was written by Matt-256, but may be used freely by other users even without the author's explicit permission.|
- "Die? Didn't you know? Spartans never die."
The SPARTAN Program was a series of smaller programs, all conceived to create physically, genetically, technologically and mentally superior supersoldiers for the UNSC Defense Force. There have so far been three programs in total, each different in a myriad of ways from the other and each with their own sub-projects and classified secrets.
The Orion Project, later called the SPARTAN-I Program was the first effort to create supersoldiers. Initiated by the Colonial Military Administration in 2321. However, the program was terminated some time later after the results failed to meet up with expectations. It was kickstarted again by the Office of Naval Intelligence in 2491, with the hope of creating the perfect anti-insurgency force by having special forces personnel from all UNSC branches undergo augmentation procedures. The first batch of soldiers numbered at 165, all of which participated in Operation: CHARLEMAGNE, suffering only a single casualty and remaining unseen. However, the program still failed to meet expectations - not helped by the costs for fielding the spartans, or the occasionally severe effects the augmentations had on the psyche - and was inactivated in 2506, all members supposedly reassigned to other special warfare teams.
Though there was a second batch of soldiers created (which raised the total number of SPARTAN-Is to 300) in 2494, roughly two years after the first passed the program, very little is known about it. In fact, extremely little about the program itself is known, due to the mysterious Section Zero of ONI itself classifying all files relating to the program. Careful examinations establish, however, that a few dozen of the 300 recruits (not counting those discharged from the program due to augmentation complications) never reappeared in the UNSC armed forces like their comrades. It can be assumed that elements within ONI kept a few of the spartans to have them continue carrying out covert or black operations, though there is no hard evidence to confirm this.
- Sergeant Avery Johnson
- Sergeant Nolan Byrne
- James James
- Gladys Wilson
- Chief Petty Officer Franklin Mendez
- Dean Jackson
- Codename: DRACULA
Conceived by Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Halsey, Class I of the SPARTAN-II Program - the successor to the ORION Project - was approved by HIGHCOM and initiated to combat the growing insurrection. According to official (within the covert community) records, 75 of 150 targeted 6-year old subjects are abducted from their homes and relocated to Reach to begin their lives as supersoldiers. For the next eight years they train to become humanity's greatest weapon, initially against the insurrection. The arrival of the Covenant changes priorities, however, and the SPARTAN-IIs go to war against the alien foe alongside the other UNSC forces. In 2547, the spartans' existence was leaked to the public in an effort by ONI Section Two to boost morale. In the end, the Human-Covenant War is ended thanks to the actions of John-117, erroneously believed by the public to be the last spartan.
Although official sources state that 150 candidates were targeted, while the best 75 were abducted for the program, there are numerous anomalies within ONI records that contradicts this. For example, post-war studies show that there were at least 7 SPARTAN-IIs active and fighting alongside the others, even though all numbers claim that these "excess" spartans are dead or discharged, while some pieces of somewhat more dubious intelligence suggest that there are even more than that. These include Black Team and The Leonidans, both turned into elite operatives for ONI, seperate from their brethren. Some officials also believe that Project INDIGO, known for fielding an elite three-man team, is Spartan-related, though there is little in the way of concrete evidence to prove it.
Further controversy was uncovered while studying SPARTAN-II number tags; some subjects (notably S-303 and S-306) sported higher numbers than the official 150 targeted candidates, thus creating the possibility that that number was altered, whether it was by Halsey herself, HIGHCOM, ONI or any other entity within the UNSC is uncertain at best. Other studies suggest that at some points in the program, there appeared to be more than 75 candidates being trained simultaneously, despite all official counts clearly stating that only 75 recruits were abducted. It's unlikely that these anomalies within the program will ever be solved, as too much of the program remains classified top secret.
The Class II Project was initiated in 2537 (after having been turned down for years), targeting a considerable amount of candidates. It closely mimicked the Class I project in many regards (though with much less controversy and anomalies than the latter). In 2545, the candidates underwent augmentations procedures and were fielded shortly after.
Class III/Project ARES
Almost concurrently with Class II, a top secret ONI Covert Operations-headed project, Project ARES, was conceived. It didn't start until 2540 due to problems with funding and candidate selection (as Class II and SPARTAN-III Beta Company had almost picked the desirable gene pool clean). Like Class II, Class III (as it came to be called) closely mimicked the Class I project in many regards. The candidates underwent augmentations in 2548 and went into the field shortly thereafter.
The SPARTAN-III Program was conceived by Colonel James Ackerson and approved by ONI in 2531. Unlike the SPARTAN-II Program and its sub-projects, the SPARTAN-III Program was aimed at creating larger numbers of suicide soldiers specifically to fight the Covenant and buy humanity time. After "acquiring" Kurt-051, the program was started.
498 candidates - children between 4 and 6 on average orphaned by Covenant attacks - made up Alpha Company, the first batch, though (officially) only 300 were accepted and trained. In 2537, the fully trained and augmented company left Onyx to fight. However, almost all 300 spartans were annihilated later in the year during Operation: PROMETHEUS.
Beta Company was initiated sometime after the demise of Alpha, beggining in 2539. Once again, only 300 were trained according to records. Like Alpha before it, Beta was annihilated in battle against the Covenant, during Operation: TORPEDO.
Shortly after Beta's demise, the 330 candidates of Gamma Company began training, undergoing augmentations in late 2551. Most of the company was deployed shortly after the fall of Reach, though three teams stayed to fight for top honors, as a result getting caught up in the Battle of Onyx.
Similar to The Leonidans, The Headhunters was a concurrently running sub-project of the SPARTAN-III Program, giving some of the program's elite members special training and putting them into individual two-man cells, though they still fought in a similar manner as the other IIIs - as suicide soldiers sent behind enemy territory to attack prominent Covenant targets. Run by Codename: DRACULA, a participant of Project ORION, and without Ackerson's knowledge, the project was successful in many ways, leading to the destruction of a large amount of Covenant targets, though the operatives suffered heavy casualties.
Though all records clearly state that both Alpha and Beta Companies only had 300 candidates trained each, and that all of them participated in and subsequently perished during Operation: TORPEDO and Operation: PROMETHEUS (except for Tom-B292 and Lucy-B091), respectively. However, The Headhunters seem to defy this; at its peaks (immediately post-training of all three companies), the project had 17 operatives within its ranks, all of which had to come from the respective companies. Yet, all three companies still seemed to have all 300 (330 in Gamma's case) within their ranks.
The existence of Noble Team makes it even more confusing; the members of the team were supposedly pulled out of the main roster (excused as being designated "unfit for duty") before Operations TORPEDO and PROMETHEUS, yet all 300 from both companies are apparently still present at the time of those battles. Theories assume that Noble and Headhunter is related to one another in some way, as they share several similarities, and that the personnel leaks are covered by those who were turned down in the selection process. However, as the SPARTAN-III Program is even more secretive than the SPARTAN-II Program, it's entirely possible that it has even more anomalies and hidden mysteries than the latter.