Alpha Research Gathering Operation or Argo is a rogue scientific research group. Whilst there intentions are genuinely for the betterment of mankind through finding the answer to the Alpha Effect the fact that they consider their test subjects as expendable or collateral damage in terms of the greater good is why ARGO is such a huge threat to all Alphas.
Whilst the group sometime subcontracts research that often leaves the three to risk of capture. There more usual method of operation is to use advanced drones (supplied by the Mechaniac) to capture test subjects at night whilst they are sleeping. The individuals are then kept comatose during the experiments before being returned home, sometimes days later. The only thing the victim will be aware of is unexplained side effects of the experiments and missing time.
CLEA ORGANISATION DATA FILE
- Rogue Science Unit
- Illegal experiments on Alpha humans
- Amongst the top most wanted organisations. CLEA have strive to shut them down so they have to keep on moving.
- Have made enemies of many vigilante teams who openly seek the scientists and often have greater resources than CLEA.
- None Known
ORGANISATION KEY PERSONNEL DATA FILE
- Dr Kenneth McEwan
- Prof Ellie Watson
- Prof Ethan Blanchard
- Bioengineer/ Rogue Scientist (Watson and Blanchard)
- Electronics/robotics engineer (McEwen)
Special Skills and/or Abilities:
- Both Watson and Blanchard were at the top of their respective branches of human biology. The pair are fully versed in gene splicing and bio transplanting techniques and use their skills to experiment on captive subjects directly or to direct teams they might have hired. Ironically before they turned rogue the pair made several important breakthroughs into research in Alpha humans including the discovery that Alpha abilities can be “jammed” by a small electric current at a specific frequency.
- McEwen was brought into the group when it became apparent they needed access to certain custom tech they could not obtain on the black market. He is a brilliant engineer with many contacts so what he cannot build he can obtain by other means. McEwen invented an implant that when place on a human can make them extremely susceptible to suggestion to the point they lose free will.
- All three try to avoid direct confrontation with their test subjects and will run when facing the chances of being caught.
- The leaders of ARGO are regarded by many as being arrogant which has led them into making mistakes through overconfidence.
Rap Sheet/Criminal Traits:
- Kidnapping and false imprisonment (Group)
- Illegal bio experimentation (Watson and Blanchard)
- Manslaughter (Watson and Blanchard)
- Unauthorised human research (Watson and Blanchard)
When Alphas first “appeared” early scientific research found another curiosity besides the “super human abilities” in that all the known Alphas at that time seemed to be immune from incurable diseases.
This fact was of interest to two young students, Blanchard and Watson who had suffered personal loss associated with such diseases. When the pair met at university they discovered they had much in common which included biology and genetics. Together they decided that once they graduated they would pursue careers which looked into the physiology of Alphas because they believed if they could replicate what internal genetic coding separated humans from Alpha humans then they could cure many diseases. The name scientists referred to this theoretical process was the fabled “Alpha Effect”.
Unfortunately for them, by the time graduation day came, Black Shadow had begun its purge on all Alphas so any careers in the field of study into these unusual people vanished. The pair therefore went their different ways and spent years advancing in their respective fields. The turning point for both came when Black Shadow was ripped apart by Zodiac’s actions and Alpha humans began resurfacing.
Making contact with each other the pair decided to carry out their goal they had set whilst they were mere students. Having some serious backing enabled the pair to form ARGO, a private research company. Funded partly from private medical companies and the EA, ARGO began work with volunteer test subjects.
Such research found many interesting secrets but not the one concerning the means in which Alphas where immune. Indeed it was ARGO research that discovered that a sustained weak electrical charge at the right frequency could prevent an Alpha using their unique gifts.
Developing the idea further ARGO created the prison collars for CLEA’s Fortress facilities which could be used to neutralise and contain Alpha fugitives. Having already established a link with CLEA, ARGO was given access to the prison population and was able to obtain a steady stream of volunteer test subjects in the form of prisoners that hoped to reduce their sentences through co-operation. No matter how much research ARGO performed they could not find the answer to immunity by normal means and so began using more invasive methods.
Once CLEA got wind of abusing prisoners in the name of medical research they immediately ceased its partnership with the organisation, and informed other law agencies around the world. Having outlawed ARGO, CLEA believed it had dealt with Blanchard and Watson’s means to continue but they were wrong.
Though the “legal” backers vanished overnight and they lost the resources of CLEA it was merely a setback. Very quickly Blanchard and Watson discovered they had new “friends” in the form of suspect pharmaceutical companies that had a vested interest in their research but did not want to establish direct links that would raise suspicions with the law enforcement agencies. ARGO would thus receive funds that were transferred through offshore accounts and dummy companies. CLEA eventually became aware of the cash flow but there was no direct proof to anyone that would stand up in a court of law.
The one thing they could not directly replace was the fact their research needed custom equipment which in the past had been provided by their sponsors. The pair therefore hired McEwen who was known to be a genius tech expert but had been disgraced for mismanaging funds. Since nobody would hire him he was only too grateful for a job.
Once McEwan was on board they restarted ARGO and since they had no access to test subjects they elected to find their own but nobody answered their ads. Desperate times called for desperate measures so just like Black Shadow had once found the means to locate Alphas, they too did the same by hiring people to kidnap new test subjects under the belief that the suffering of a few to benefit the many was a necessary evil.
CLEA soon learned of ARGO’s new methods and immediately began looking to close them down permanently but each time an illegal lab was found, before CLEA or law enforcement offices could make their move the operation is shut down, only to reappear some time later in another country. On several occasions the three “founders” were nearly caught after the people they hired to do the kidnapping “talked”. Realising the “hired help” was a weak link, Blanchard and Watson decided to implement McEwan’s radical idea of using robot drones.
Having black market links with the individual known as the Mechaniac allowed him to get hold of the advanced machines which he could maintain. From that moment in time the group’s operations have remained relatively unchanged and they only stay one step ahead of the law because their victims remain unaware of what is happening to them by being kept comatose. To avoid drawing attention to their operations, ARGO tries to limit the length of time it holds onto its test subjects. Missing people always attract attention and the longer they are missing the greater the chance of somebody calling the authorities. Even if the victim or those around them later works out that something has been “done” to them, by the time police of CLEA get involved, ARGO will have moved on.
Whilst very careful to avoid attracting attention to themselves, ARGO has made some spectacular blunders. The first and most notable of these happened when a test subject, Michelle Bertrand (later known as Chrysalis) woke up during an experiment. Startled to find herself wired to some lab equipment she panicked and during her escape woke up another test subject Quinn McGrath. In making contact with him, a fully fledged Alpha, her unstable genetic matrix made his existing Alpha abilities unstable. Consequently she gained her Alpha abilities as per the experiment but from that moment on he lost control of his.
After recovering from what had been done to them, both swore vengeance on ARGO and made it their life’s mission to bring down the organisation. Later they teamed up with another of ARGO’s experiments, Stonewall, who wanted revenge just like them. She too had unexpectedly awoken after an error in her anaesthetic dosage but before escaping had stolen some of ARGO’s computer files which is how she tracked down Chrysalis and Quartz.
Over the course of a few years the trio caused more than a few problems for ARGO’s operations and slow progress in their work led to Blanchard making a severe error of judgment by trying to collect test subjects in the form of “Trident” . ARGO was planning on leaving North America due to the country becoming “too hot”. Blanchard figured in going after high profile targets they should make it worth the effort and they should keep the captives as permanent test subjects. After capturing Hornet and Hijack, Blanchard awoke Hornet and revealed his intentions in a bid to get her to reveal information leading to the location of Gecko. Tanya was tricked into telling Blanchard what he needed to know before sending the drones. However the units failed and Rachel managed to escape to MCI’s White Tower office block, Zodiac’s Atlantica base of operations.
This led to an assault on the tower by the drones during which Rachel and some of Zodiacs members were captured and taken to the ARGO facility by means of Banish (who had been captured some time earlier in the year and was being “controlled”). The entire Zodiac team mobilised and located the hidden facility and was successful in rescuing its own team and Trident. ARGO escaped without their prize but some time after that Banish got free of their control and joined Night Shadow.
One nights disaster therefore ensured that as well as CLEA to contend with, ARGO would actively be pursued by Zodiac, Trident and Night Shadow as well as their earlier “experiments”. This has since reduced ARGO’s means to operate as freely as it once did.