Project Darwin, established before the nuclear war, was a classified genetic and biological research center located in a remote mountainous location in Nevada. The base was designed to be entirely self-sufficient, with a radioactive field prohibiting access to and from the facility and the adjoining town, with only a winding mountain route remaining as a clear connection to the outside world. The town served as a housing area for the massive research facility, with all necessities on-site, including a hospital, convenience store, bar, emergency chemical lab etc. While the research base provided enough living space for the base's personnel, the men simply chose to live in the town.
The first (and only) director of Project Darwin was Irwin John Finster. A man with interests in mathematics, baseball, psychology and cybernetics, he led a dedicated team of scientists with the mission of creating life that would adapt to a post-nuclear war. The covert nature of the research would prevent the research team from gaining a Nobel prize in genetics, which was won by Andrea Mills from Sleeper One. This led to an escalating rivalry between the two research centers, which went even further as Irwin John Finster attempted to enhance his performance with aid from Base Cochise AI, turning himself into a cyborg. With that, he lost his humanity.
The War comes to Darwin
After the war broke out, Darwin became isolated. The town was self-sufficient and over time grew extremely xenophobic and withdrawn, but at the same time a haven for wasteland outcasts and those who couldn't fit elsewhere. One of them was Dr. Jekyll, who opened a Body Shop in the city limits. The base's police also became increasingly wary of any outsiders, sometimes shooting them on sight.
Darwin changed it's mission only slightly - now, it aimed to produce life capable of surviving in the harsh wasteland, useful life. As Irwin John Finster became a cyborg through the influence of Cochise's AI, he created a cybernetic interface called the Mindlink, to oversee the research and control the labs directly. Other research team members were disturbed at the results of his research and eventually, Finster begun releasing some of the creatures into the town to terrorize the populace, locked up most of the staff in the lower levels of Project Darwin and infected lower ranking security and maintenance staff members with a disease to prevent them from reveling the truth.
Finster was cooperating with the Base Cochise AI, to fulfill it's goal of creating the perfect form of life that would inherit the Earth. The vision was madness to the common human - Earth would be transformed into a red planet, populated by mutants unlike anything any man could dream before. The labs of Darwin and the biodomes served as cultivators for the plague that would consume the Earth as we knew it.
Before the plan could come to fruition, however, Finster was assassinated by a group of Desert Rangers under Snake Vargas' lead who also shutdown the project permanently, to prevent the plague from being released.
Remnants of Darwin and Finster's followers would form a community in the burnt out ruins of the laboratory. By 2102, a stable community of mutants, the descendants of the scientists and personnel of the base who have been deformed by the effects of Finster's mutagens and the radiation continued their work in secret, hoping for a time when humanity would be responsible enough to use this kind of science. The mutants saw themselves as the custodians and guardians of Darwin and that that their mission was to preserve the research and knowledge of their ancestors until mankind was ready to use it wisely to rebuild the world.
This isolation from the outside would be maintained for a long time until a steel monk came to Darwin in 2102 to search for Finster's collection of genetically engineered diseases. Most likely the steel monk intended to use these against the Desert Rangers and other people of the Arizona wasteland. Mutant defenders tried to stop the steel monk from accessing the secure cabinet containing the diseases but they could not prevent it from breaking at least one vial before it was taken down. Only Jan managed to escape the effects of released disease, locking herself up in a germ proof isolation room. The released disease quickly spread across the mutant population with the effects being intelligence being diminished and the infected becoming highly aggressive against non infected.
The few remaining mutants who had not fully succumbed to the disease tried to spread a remaining batch of universal antidote, one of the medicines developed at Project Darwin, through the air filtration system to cure the affected population but were unable to do so before the disease fully struck them.
- Mind Maze
- Cochise AI: "Finster was a fool. He thought he could rebel, but he was easy to break. If not for me, he would have killed you."