I’ve never really gotten inside the workings of the Project Prometheus organization. I’ve explored what makes it tick, a bit, but not into the meat and bones of what the organization is, or how it came to be.
It all began in the 1990s, with a character who wouldn’t be silent, and had nothing to do with what would eventually become the organization of Project Prometheus. Manara Binte Alzena was someone with a story I really wanted to tell. She’s not a Muslim, but she was born and raised in the Middle East (Syria, to be exact). She’s a woman reviled by both the West (for no other reason than she’s Middle Eastern) and by the Islamic world, for her beliefs and her refusal to adhere to codes she doesn’t believe in about a woman’s proper place.
But Manara was so much more than any of these things, and I needed the proper story frame to really let her shine. What better than a group of mercenaries who aren’t your typical mercenaries, either? And so began the first steps of IN HER NAME, and the foundation of Project Prometheus.
As a former US military brat and always a military history enthusiast, I’m fascinated by the inner workings of military systems around the world and the politics that are often an influence on them. And then, in passing, I read something regarding stated US policy, and it surprised me. The US Government neither condones nor participates in the use of mercenaries. In fact, the stated policy is that any American citizen who joins a mercenary unit loses his/her citizenship as an American.
Now I grew up in the military – I’ve seen enough, heard enough, and lived through enough that this information really surprised me. From the Swamp Fox during the Revolutionary War to Somalia (and even more recently, Iraq and Afghanistan, today), I’m aware of dozens of instances in which the US either made use of or worked in co-operation with mercenaries. This contradiction sent me searching deeper, and inspired an idea.
What would happen if a mercenary organization fought for the same thing official US policy stands by, and was based in the US? What would happen if the men and women recruited by this organization were some of the most decorated personnel in both military and civilian Law Enforcement channels?
From this thought came the initial concept of Project Prometheus. The first thing I decided was that these were mercenaries. The second was that they wouldn’t all be US citizens. These men and women would be chosen for their skills, and their dedication to a common cause – peace and safety for the world, no matter the cost.
Now, Prometheus isn’t anywhere close to your typical mercenary unit. I’ll grant you that. Most mercenary units are available to the highest bidder, and don’t draw a lot of moral lines regarding what they will and won’t do for their pay. Most are modern equivalents of land-locked pirates. But I didn’t want that for Prometheus. These had to be men and women you couldn’t help but admire and respect – people with histories and lives that lent themselves to the moral codes so often ignored by mercenary units. So, what to do?
🙂 It was simple enough. By giving them a face – the mythical face of self-sacrificing Prometheus – they became driven to help others, to work for the betterment of all humanity. They aren’t all warriors, either. Prometheans come from all walks of life – they are protectors, healers, investigators, teachers and so much more. As many of their non-Promethean counterparts soon discover, there’s a lot more to being a Promethean than the willingness to fight.