Project Icarus


Project Icarus

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Project Icarus

Origins (1940s)

Project Icarus was a dream given shape, a dream born from the nightmare revelation that human kind was changing, and that the rapid steps of evolution were unavoidable, that there would be those left behind in the footsteps of the evolutionary race.

Project Icarus' true origins date back to an unknown period in the early 1940s, during the height of the Nazi Party's reign over Europe and Adolf Hitler's fabled Ubermensch project. A group of seven individuals loyal to the Fuhrer and his research were gathered together — bright minds without the weakness to allow something like moral compunction to get in the way of their research.


Of the seven, only six are known in name today. The leader of the project was a German biologist named Heinrich Wagner. It was under Heinrich's iron fist and capable leadership that the likes of Otto Brum, Adolf Meier, Rudolph Zimmerman, Kazimir Volken and Adam Monroe would research and understand the Ubermensch.

Much of the research done by one team in particular, led by Kazimir Volken, revolved around the idea of wanting to understand what created the Evolved. Why they existed, for what purpose, and in what means could they be harnessed. Along with Monroe, the origin of the Evolved was explored through selfish and inhuman ends.

Ultimately, the research led by Heinrich Wagner and his team would come to an abrupt close with the defeat of German forces in Europe and the collapse of the Third Reich. Before the battle of Normandy, Kazimir Volken and Adam Monroe would flee Germany on seperate paths. Volken's flight took him to America, seeking amnesty from war tribunals by offering his scientific understanding and the secret of the Evolved to the united States Government.

Volken's Era (1945-1957)

Faced with Kazimir's information in connection with their own, the united States Government silently appointed Kazimir Volken to the lead of research into the Evolved on American soil. Operating out of a location known as Fort Daedalus somewhere in the Nevada Desert, Kazimir's research would continue to plumb the depths of inhuman depravity in his heartless desire to understand his own evolved curse.

Dubbed Project Icarus, Kazimir's research would continue from 1945 to 1957. Volken's assistant in the latter days of his research, a brilliant and young Indian scientist named Chandra Suresh, would eventually come to take over Project Icarus when Kazimir Volken was confronted by the fledgeling Federal Bureau of Investigation following mysterious disappearances and deaths connected to Kazimir's research.

He had gone too far, and ultimately Kazimir's death at the hands of the FBI agents resulted in the closing of Fort Daedalus and the collapse of Project Icarus for a handful of years.It would not be until 1960 that the project was revived, as the American government silently began rounding up evolved members of its own citizens, rounding them up at a relocation facility somewhere in Arizona, called Coyote Sands.

Coyote Sands (1960-1961)


Here, under the guidance of Chandra Suresh and his young assistant Jonas Zimmerman, Kazimir Volken's research would begin under new guidance. Project Icarus' focus had begun to change, from researching the origins of the Evolved, to an attempt to replicate their abilities in non-evolved human subjects. The very foundations of this research performed by Suresh and Zimmerman in the 1960s would not last long, however.

In the summer of 1961, an incident at Coyote Sands resulted in a military action at the relocation camp, resulting in a massacre involving its residents. Survivors of the massacre at Coyote Sands, a handful of Evolved youths, would decide on that day that the mistakes of Coyote Sands would not ever be replicated again, and that they would utilize their powers together to form a Company designed to hide and protect their own kind.

This, was the birth of the Company.

The Company (1975-1989)


Eventually, the research started by the Nazis in the 1940s would be completed, unintentionally, by researchers of the Company. Having brought Lewis Zimmerman under their wing as a research analyst, brilliant minds from the Company, among the likes of which was renowned geneticist and microbiologist Victoria Pratt, began research once more into an organic compound that could be utilized to impart Evolved abilities to non-evolved individuals.

However, the scientific research of Zimmerman and Pratt would not be enough to culminate their research. In the end, it took an Evolved to make an Evolved. The linchpin to Zimmerman and Pratt's research would ultimately end up being a woman by the name of Ishi Nakamura.

Wife of Kaito Nakamura, Ishi possessed a uniquely transferrable ability that she called "The Light", and which the Company dubbed The Catalyst. Ishi's ability allowed the endowment of life where there was not life, vivacious energy of healing that ultimately would cost her her own life.

Ishi's ability — the Catalyst — allowed for Zimmerman's formula to truly come to life. By 1967 the Formula was in its first clinical testing stages, and the children of Company employees were the first to be subjected to it. The first batch of the Formula was unstable, and a handful of the initially injected children would eventually suffer long-term genetic damage, including deaths. Some would not show signs for years after their injection. Commonly, averse reactions to the Formula resulted in terminal cancer.

A second round of testing was performed, and Batch-2 of the Formula was designed and ready for clinical trial in 1979. The round of trials would be performed in-utero on pregnant mothers, in an attempt to impart abilities on unborn children. The rounds of testing was successful, initially, and observations on the growing children would take place for ten years.

In 1989, it was discovered that many of the pre-natal work done on the injected children was causing developmental issues with their growth. A handful of the tested children developed growth defects and genetic anomalies not in line with Zimmerman's projected development. While some children managed to successfully avoid harmful side-effects from the Formula, this last round of losses was proven to be too catastrophic.

The Company decided that the Formula was simply too dangerous to be used and tested until the science surrounding it was better. Ultimately a decision was made to scrap the project, and under the supervision of Arthur Petrelli the Hartsdale New York laboratory where the Formula was developed would be destroyed. The decision was also made to remove all sources of knowledge of the Formula, including its researchers.

Save for Zimmerman and Pratt, all of the Company researchers involved in the Formula's creation were rounded up under Arthur's orders, and locked within the Hartsdale facility where a staged accident destroyed the facility and took the lives of everyone involved with the Formula research, sparing the now retired Zimmerman and Pratt for future development of the project.

With the deaths of the researchers, the surviving children of the Company's agents were given into foster care, their memories altered to remove any recollection of their birth parents. Ultimately, the Company washed it's hands of the Formula entirely.

The Advent Virus (2008-2009)


In the fall of 2008, under the guidance of Arthur Petrelli following the faking of is death in 2006, research into the Formula was begun again. Utilizing the bankroll of Pinehearst Company's recently founded American branch of research, Arthur brought on the brilliant but damaged geneticist Alison Meier, a doctor who began her work with Pinehearst's German branch, and studied with Lewis Zimmerman in California before coming on to the Department of Homeland Security as a consultant following the bomb.

Arthur provided Doctor Meier with nearly unlimited funding and staff for her research and a lack of moral accountability that allowed the doctor to flourish. Two surviving aides of the Company's formula research were brought on by Arthur, loyal friends from years past. Jennifer and Mason Chesterfield would become instrumental in the rebirth of the Formula in a new and horrifying manner.

Alison's own obsession with the perfection of human form eventually took root in the development of an entirely new Formula, straying from Zimmerman's original research and the need of the seemingly lost catalyst. Alison Meier's Advent Virus was a retrovirus designed to copy and impart evolved abilites to non-evolved individuals.

However, without proper clinical trials, Alison tested the Advent Virus on herself utilizing genetic samples of Jennifer Chesterfield's Evolved ability of biological transmutation. Meier's Advent Virus worked, however the genetic damage done to her body was fatal, and without constant care and medical attention, it was clear that Doctor Meier's degenerative condition would only result in her death.

Now spurred on by a sense of self-preservation, Alison's research took a decidedly dark and twisted bend. In the fall of 2008, Alison began ordering the kidnapping of the "unwanted" chaffe of New York, people left homeless and destitute in the wake of the bomb, people no one would notice go missing.

These homeless were subjected to Alison's research and testing on the Advent Virus. Some who had Evolved abilities found them copied and imprinted on non-evolved test subjects, who showed varying levels of corporeal instability.

Ultimately, Alison's research would lead to Company discovering her handywork, dubbing it the Rage-Dementia virus. The Company's chief medical scnetist Odessa Knutson would be the primary mind behind attempting to decypher the mystery of the Rage-Dementia virus, and the seemingly spontaneous abilities it imparted on others, and the horrific deaths their bodies underwent as a result of the genetic instability.

The most stable version of the Advent Virus, Batch-42, had a stable operating period of an average of six hours before the breakdwn of organic tissue began. These results were disappointing to both Meier and Petrelli, and horrified the Chesterfields with Meier's heartless and careless lack of morality.

In early 2009, when Arthur Petrelli was able to recover from his near-catatonic condition, he began pushing for a reform in the Formula research. Mason and Jennifer Chesterfield were brought to New York City and development of the Advent Virus was stopped entirely. Direction then turned to finding the original formula, now that Arthur had come into possession of the Catalyst, which had been transferred into Claire Bennet.

Bringing on Adam Monroe to Pinehearst, Arthur began planning the return of the Formula. The death of Kaito Nakamura and an attack on Angela Petrelli led Pinehearst to the Formula. However, during the recovery of Kaito Nakamura's portion of the genetic formula, one of Adam Monroe's cohorts realized the danger the formula represented, and altered fundamental aspects of the design, subtly.

Richard Cardinal and Xiulan's efforts to twist the Formula went unnoticed as Arthur made arrangements with the United States Government to supply them with the Formula to utilize on their own soldiers to create an army of the Evolved, but it was an offer he could not back up with results.

When the first test of the catalyzed formula resulted in the death of Pinehearst agent Trent Daselles, Arthur was forced by his own timetables to reluctantly return Alison Meier to research on the Advent Virus in order to buy Pinehearst time to decypher what went wrong with the Formula…

The Formula

The Formula is an organic compound developed in the 1960s to impart Evolved abilities to non-evolved subjects. It was created by Lewis Zimmerman and Victoria Pratt, but ultimately was deigned too unstable for practical application, and research into it was halted in 1989. Twenty years later, Arthur Petrelli would bring back the Formula in a bid for power to attempt to destroy the Company by allying with the United States Government. This plan was ultimately thwarted by the acts of Richard Cardinal and Xiulan.

The Advent Virus

The Advent Virus was a non-communicable retrovirus created by Alison Meier in 2008. As a retrovirus, the Advent Virus wasable to graft genetic information of the Suresh Linkage Complex on to a non-evolved individual, effectively copying their ability. However, the Advent Virus was far too unstable, and after several hours of possessing the ability, the subjects undergo a painful and fatal genetic breakdown which causes their cell walls to rupture, effectively liquefying their bodies.


Rage-Dementia was the term the Company used in identifying the Advent Virus when it first appeared in the public in 2008. Doctor Odessa Knutson was the Company's chief researcher in the virus, along with aid by Mohinder Suresh.

Shanti Virus

When a young girl was discovered with a fatal virus that targeted Evolved abilities in India, the Company dubbed the virus Shanti, after the young Shanti-Suresh, patient zero. Research done by Victoria Pratt into the Shanti Virus would eventually be key in helping develop the Formula's basic principals, by knowing which area the Shanti virus attacked in the human genome, it became possible to target that region with gene therapy.

The Shanti Virus targets what is now known as the Suresh Linkage Complex, effectively neutralizing the complex and destabilizing Evolved abilities. In nearly all strains of the virus, ability loss is permanent but not fatal.

A weaponized strain was created in the late 1970s by Victoria Pratt, and subsequentially attempted to be released upon the world at large by Adam Monroe, resulting in his imprisonment by the Company and the destruction of all but one vial of Strain-128.

It is unknown if cases of any strain of the Shanti Virus are still present in the natural world, or if other engineered strains of the virus are in Company possession.


In early 2009, the attempt of Kazimir Volken to bring about an engineered viral apocalypse resulted in the unintentional blend of the Shanti Virus and the Advent Virus. When the homeless individuals infected with the Advent Virus were subsequentially infected with the Shanti Virus, their genetic composition stabalized, but turned the Advent Virus into a communical airborne virus, much like Strain-128 of the Shanti Virus.

In an alternate future, the virus broke out in early 2009 and by 2018, nine years later, 95% of the world's population had been destroyed by the virus. The Shanti-Rage/Shanti-Advent virus affected both Evolved and Non-Evolved, combining the highly communicable nature and resiliance of the Shanti Virus with the fatal ability copying of the Advent/Rage-Dementia virus.

The only survivors of the Shanti-Rage/Shanti-Advent virus were those with a seemingly natural immunity to the virus, as well as those taking genetic inhibitors developed originally by the United States Government to suppress Evolved abilities.

Eventually, a cure for the Shanti-Virus was discovered in the antibodies of Mohinder Suresh's blood, and a cure for the virus was designed at the request of Kazimir Volken for his own twisted agenda. In this cure and the brave actions of Phoenix and Ex-Vanguard members, the dark future seen by Gabriel Gray never came to pass.

List of Synthetic Evolved

Below is a comprehensive list of known Evolved who gained their abilities through synthetic means:

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