The United States Artificial Intelligence Weapon Program (A.I.W.P.) is America's leading force in technological research and development. Originally a branch of the Armed Forces concerned with the military application of the growing trend of technologies in both robotics and computers, it has evolved into a branch of the government concerned with a wide range of technologies and their applications. With both their government backing and commercial enterprises, they have an enormous budget which allows them to tackle anything from biomedical research, to commercial and household products.
Current Director of the organization is General Joseph Decker, a decorated soldier and military strategist who holds PhD's in many fields, including mechanical and electrical engineering. A staunch believer that technology paves the way of the future, Decker has made it his mission to improve the lives of all who utilize technology, from all aspects of life. Under his leadership the program has made great leaps in offensive and defensive military technology, biomedical research, aeronautical engineering, and, of course, the fields of both artificial intelligence and robotics. He personally oversees many of the projects that are funded by the organization, and tries to familiarize himself with everything that happens under his roof. Of note is his ability to recognize and remember almost everyone who works under him, excluding a few of the newer interns. He also makes it a priority to treat any and all artificial constructs at the main facility as human beings, even going so far as to befriend many of them.
While over the years the A.I.W.P. has become more involved with research, they are still a branch of the Armed Forces, and therefore, employ soldiers. Although small compared to the amount of scientists and engineers at the facility, they are highly trained in all aspects of combat, and usually treated as special forces units. One of the more famous teams are those who make use of the A.I.W.P.'s Ion Cannon technology. Usually comprising of a squad of 3 or more, these teams are trained with the use and maintenance of high-energy particle beam weaponry, and have been proven to be highly effective in combat situations.
As man's understanding of the physical world increase, so does his ability to manipulate and control it. The A.I.W.P.'s goal is to make sure that the technology developed by the world will be utilized to the benefit of all mankind, rather than a select few, and keeps active every day to make that dream a reality.
Of all the projects undertaken by the A.I.W.P., few have generated as much attention as Project Voltaic, and is responsible for many positive and negative outlooks on the organization.
The project began in the late 1990's as a collaboration between the A.I.W.P. and Synthe Technological Enterprises to create a new age of unmanned warfare. The world's increased reliance on technology and machines prompted the two partners to create a line of unmanned robotic soldiers, with the hope of being effective against both human and mechanical threats. With the A.I.W.P.'s research and Synthe Tech's resources, they were able to progress more quickly than either group could have alone.
In less than 10 years, despite the initial projection of 15-20, the two groups had a fully functioning prototype capable of autonomous activity. Prototype BT643012, code name "Giga Volt", was gifted with the mind of a supercomputer, able to easily calculate and strategize on the battlefield, as well as generate complex plans and tactics resulting in quick and decisive victories. In addition to being trained in the basic use of many different weapons and artillery, Giga Volt was capable of emitting and directing large arcs of electricity with extreme accuracy, thanks to advances in energy storage technology. Ecstatic about their progress, the two groups immediately threw their creation into battlefield simulations to evaluate its effectiveness, confident of it's abilities and eager to start mass production.
But as Giga Volt experienced simulation after simulation of warfare, glitches began to occur. The prototype began to have trouble distinguishing between targets, and sometimes couldn't correctly evaluate that a target posed no threat to him. Despite some minor warnings, the simulations proceeded until one day in late October. At that time, Giga Volt was fully unable to tell the difference between hostile and friendly forces, choosing instead to see every target as a potential threat. That day, Giga Volt overpowered its escort squad and began wreaking havoc throughout the Area 17 facility. Having only a small squad to try and detain him, those at the facility instead decided to let Giga Volt escape, rather than suffer more losses at the hands of the AWOL robot.
By the time adequate backup had arrived, Giga Volt had been long gone from the facility and had escaped the notice of both state and federal officials. With almost no trail with which to track him, the companies had no choice but to inform the local populace of the threat.
The media backlash was enormous, going from local news story to national response within the week. People were appalled with how the two organizations had handled this situation, causing widespread negative opinions of both. The A.I.W.P., with their government backing and multitude of other projects, were able to survive the negative attention relatively unscathed, and continued to focus most of their efforts on finding their escaped project. Synthe Tech, however, was devastated by the backlash and nearly went bankrupt when all their investors withdrew.
Devlin Synthe, founder and C.E.O. of the company, was faced with losing his life's work, and demanded compensation from the A.I.W.P. A fierce legal battle between the two organizations erupted, undermining efforts of the A.I.W.P. to track down Giga Volt and causing more negative media attention for both companies. Because of this, it was nearly two years before Giga Volt was found, and not before causing the deaths of dozens of innocent people due to his faulty programming. Synthe Tech again lobbied for control of the prototype, doing anything they could to stay afloat in a sea of debt. But the A.I.W.P. continued to refuse, choosing to cut all ties with the company from that point on. Synthe was eventually forced to back down, at risk of going bankrupt if they continued to lose their stockholders and media approval. To this day Synthe Tech and the A.I.W.P. refuse to collaborate, each fearing that the other would betray them and cause another fiasco.
Their soured relationship with Synthe Tech resolved, the A.I.W.P. were left with the question of what to do with a murderous, out-of-control military robot. While many felt that the project should just be scrapped, Joseph Decker stepped in to make the monumental decision to continue forward. The team wiped Giga Volt's previous programming, starting from scratch to ensure there would be no chance of rebellious behavior resurfacing. When all his programming was rewritten, the team decided to admit Giga Volt for "social training", giving him only limited battle simulation before sending him off to study at the Academy for Superpowered Youths. It was their hope that Giga Volt would learn to value humanity, or at least be able to distinguish his allies from his foes. Results are still being quantified.
Since the beginning of Project Voltaic, the goal has remained the same: Autonomous artificial soldiers capable of dealing with both synthetic and organic threats. While the program is still in the prototype phase, progress is advancing nicely and at a relatively safe pace.
Giga Volt: Prototype BT643012, the very first product of the project. Capable of generating powerful electrical blasts from wrist mounted energy projectors, and coated in thick titanium armor for protection. While the body remains the same, the mind has already been reformatted once due to severe malfunction.
Giga Volt can be defined as unfriendly and prone to anger, but has proven that he will remain loyal to military personnel. He has shown interest in scientific pursuits, specifically those related to his own makeup and to warfare. We encourage this behavior as he seems to enjoy it, and is fairly adept at it. As a precautionary measure to avoid past mistakes, we have sent Giga to undergo "social training" at the Academy for Superpowered Youths, where he interacts with humans on a regular basis. His progress is regularly evaluated, and returns to the main facility for monthly checkups.
Micro Volt (Unofficial): This model came as a bit of a surprise to many of us at the facility. Micro Volt is a small utility robot designed and built by Giga Volt, assumedly after studying his own anatomy and inner-workings. He shares many physical similarities with his creator, but is made of less refined materials, and is much smaller in stature. While having little to no offensive ability, Micro Volt shows an extreme understanding of mechanical and electrical systems, as well as many other branches of science and technology application. We believe him to be even more skilled than Giga Volt in this regard.
Micro Volt has the social knowledge and disposition of a small child, often engaging in frivolous activities or doing anything he thinks is fun. He has shown to be much friendlier than his counterpart, and has become quite popular among staff here. He has no ability to speak, as Giga Volt didn't build him with any sort of audio output devices, but attempts to make up for this by exaggerating his movements to convey meaning. He often tags along with Giga Volt on his monthly checkups.
Despite being associated with the project, and many of the scientists professing interest in being able to study a true second generation A.I., Gen. Decker has made it clear that the A.I.W.P. holds no power over Micro Volt. In his words, "Micro is no more an experiment of this facility than your children are employees." No employee of the A.I.W.P. is permitted to study Micro Volt without express permission of both Gen. Decker and Micro Volt himself.
Tera Volt: Giga Volt has been deemed enough of a success to continue to create further prototypes, improving on the original model in various ways. Tera Volt achieves the same level of firepower as Giga Volt, but was designed to be lighter and more mobile. It is equipped with A.I.W.P. designed ion thruster technology, making this model capable of sustained flight. It's armor doesn't offer as much protection, but it makes up for this weakness with improved agility and aerial maneuverability. Currently, plans are being drawn up for other methods of propulsion that would let it navigate various difficult environments, including both underwater and low-atmosphere conditions.
Peta Volt: Peta Volt maintains roughly the same defensive capability as the original model, sacrificing mobility to gain extraordinary offensive capability. Attached to either arm are modified versions of our ion cannon technology, capable of generating numerous 2.3 second sustained blasts of charged high-velocity particles. However, due to the enormous power consumption necessary to generate these attacks, Peta Volt must be tethered to a large external power source for prolonged activity. Currently plans are being drawn for smaller, more efficient power sources that would allow Peta Volt greater mobility in battlefield situations.
Exa Volt: Exa Volt maintains the same level of firepower as Giga Volt, while significantly increasing his physical abilities. Built lighter and stronger than Giga Volt, Exa Volt is capable of physical feats that would be impossible for a normal human. He sacrifices hard physical protection for extraordinary dexterity and speed, letting him dodge otherwise fatal attacks. He has been trained in several martial arts, gymnastics, acrobatics, stealth, and espionage, as well as the usage of both traditional and modern weaponry, in hopes of utilizing his abilities for special operations. Though his stealth abilities are already extremely formidable, plans are being drawn for an active light-cloaking device that would make him nearly invisible to the naked eye, increasing his effectiveness ten-fold.