A comic idea currently brewing in the head of bickazer, who cannot draw.
20 Minutes into the Future, the United States government maintains a secret division known only as the 'Program.' The Program's job? Simple: Turn out genetically engineered super soldiers to use in dangerous secret operations. Raised and trained in the Program since they were children, the soldiers become known only as "Projects" assigned a retinue of handlers and scientists. Sadistic Colonel Micky Diamond, who loves his wife and kids but views the Projects as less than human, oversees the entire mess.
One of the best Projects out there is Project Z, AKA Zenya. Leader of Squadron Z, the Program's premier team, Zenya is a straightforward, androgynous young woman who doesn't care for her superiors, but does whatever she can to ensure her comrades survive. But things soon become much more complicated when a young man named Ernest Hua arrives on the scene and declares that he is going to take down the Program by any means necessary—and working for him is Kimio, Zenya's brother, who escaped from the Program three years ago and is none too happy that his sister still hasn't changed sides....
Yeah, replace this with a better description soon.
- Action Girl: All of the female Projects. Even Antoinette, with her relatively passive power, can handle herself well if she has to fight.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Pretty much all of Squadron Z's early encounters with Kimio end up with them losing horribly. It's lucky that Kimio doesn't believe in killing 'fellow Projects'.
- Electronic Telepathy: How the Projects communicate on the job. And when they're resting in stasis, it's the only way they can communicate.
- Evilutionary Biologist: The scientists who work for the Program.
- Five-Man Band: Squadron Z.
- Five-Token Band: Squadron Z could be viewed as this, with Japanese Zenya, French Antoinette, black Darius, white Rush and Russian Ekaterina. Though of course their ethnicities matter little to the Program.
- Gray and Gray Morality: I specifically designed Hua's faction not to be villains, while making the members of the Program sympathetic as well. It's designed to show that in this world there are no truly good answers; Kimio prizes ideals over comrades, Zenya comrades over ideals, but in both cases people end up suffering. The reader must decide for themselves which path is the lesser of two evils.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: As Kimio comes up with more and more ingenious ways to mentally torture Colonel Diamond, you can't help but feel a little sorry for the guy....
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Not quite as far-reaching as some types. The Program erases the memories of the children that come into its care, but they still maintain a basic sense of their identities, enough for some, like Zenya and Kimio, to remember that they're related. And some, like Ekaterina, manage to remember everything.
- Meaningful Name / Alphabetical Theme Naming: All of the Projects' names are more than a little self-explanatory. "Project Distance Shooter," Project Explosive Implants," "Project Advance Scout," "Project Retractable Weapons"...yeah. The Projects themselves choose more personalized names for themselves, based off the first initiail of their official titles.
- Mind Rape: Kimio's illusions, more often than not, end up being this. Especially if he knows you well.
- Mission Control: Usually Colonel Diamond's role. On Squadron Z, Antoinette serves as this.
- Not So Different: Where much of the story's moral conflict comes from. Both sides do horrific things, both to their own and to each other.
- The Smurfette Principle: Completely averted. The main Five-Man Band is actually majority female.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Averted: Squadron Z faces their most powerful opponent, Kimio, from the very beginning.
- Super Soldier: The entire reason behind the existence of the Program, though they're less soldiers than black ops.
- True Companions: Squadron Z, definitely.
- Twenty Minutes In The Future
- Tyke-Bomb: What the Program considers the Projects to be.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: All of the Projects are engineered with unusual hair colors, so they can be told apart from humans; they are also unable to dye their hair, to prevent them from disguising as humans. Kimio gets around this by illusioning false appearances for himself.
Character TropesZenya/Project ZERO
Also known as Project Z. The Program's most successful operative and leader of their premier team Squadron Z. She has a low-key, plainspoken, down-to-business personality, and would do anything to protect her comrades.
- A Mother To Her Men
- Badass Normal: All right, she does have powers, but amongst her teammates (who are psychics, have Improbable Aiming Skills, and can create explosions), she is pretty much this.
- Bifauxnen: Doesn't deliberately hide her gender, but is very androgynous and prefer's mens' clothes.
- Dual Wielding: Dual wields guns.
- Foil: Zenya and Kimio are pretty much the opposite of each other, with starkly contrasting viewpoints and attitudes. Zenya willingly works for the Program so she can ensure her comrades' safety, while Kimio gladly chucks his comrades into the fire if he he needs to but strives to free all the Projects and end the entire Program. Their respective relationships with Colonel Diamond and Ernest Hua also serve as Foils: Zenya/Diamond is born of lust and necessity, Kimio/Ernest of genuine care for each other.
- Heroic BSoD: Has an epic breakdown after Katya and Rush betray the team.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: When Katya and Rush attack her, she reveals that all this time, she's actually been holding back during missions and proceeds to take them down single-handedly. Impressive considering that Katya can generate explosions and Rush is a walking arsenal. Zenya explains that she is considered one of the greatest Projects ever made because she was expressly designed to be able to take down not just human enemies, but fellow Projects if the need arose.
- Mama Bear: Woe be unto you if you harm any of her True Companions.
- MayDecember Romance: The 'romance' part is debatable, but she is sleeping with the 47-year-old Colonel Diamond. She's 19.
- My Hero Zero
- No One Gets Left Behind: Her philosophy to a tee.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning
- Standardized Leader: In spades.
- Super Soldier: The most standard of the entire team: has enhanced strength, speed, and reflexes, and no other powers.
- You Gotta Have Lavender Hair
Antoinette/Project Advance Scout
Also known as Project A. Squadron Z's scout/mission control. Cheerful, bubbly, bouncy Antoinette seems to be the complete opposite of Zenya, but they nonetheless consider each other the best of friends.
- Astral Projection: How she gathers intel. Noted in that her 'soul-self' doesn't actually interact with the environment, but just watches. It can be almost seen as long-range clairvoyance. Naturally, it makes her invaluable for recon and collecting intel.
- Genki Girl
- Most Common Superpower: Especially compared to the other girls on the team.
- Les Yay: With Zenya, to the point of overtly flirting with her.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Where aforementioned Les Yay comes from.
Darius/Project Distance Shooter
Also known as Project D. Squadron Z's sniper. Darius is an impetuous, hotheaded boy who's determined to prove himself. He's the youngest and newest member of his team, and has a bit of a stick up his ass about that.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Shades of this, though he is 15.
- Cold Sniper and Friendly Sniper: Averts both.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Justified; his eyes can actually work like both binoculars and sniper scopes, allowing him to see long distances and zero in on targets.
- The Napoleon: The only team member shorter than him is Katya.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Blue dreadlocks, to be precise.
Ekaterina/Project Explosive Implants
Also known as Project E. One of Squadron Z's ground fighters. Quiet and retiring, Ekaterina doesn't open up to anyone except fellow teammate Rush, and even then, she seems to be hiding many secrets from him....
- Broken Masquerade: The only Project who fully remembers her former human life. She takes great care to hide it.
- Goth, with shades of Elegant Gothic Lolita.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Has the personality in spades, though not the exact hair color.
- Mysterious Waif
- Official Couple: With Rush.
- The Quiet One
- Stuff Blowing Up: Her powers, basically. She can detonate explosions up to a range of several hundred feet around her.
- Turn Coat: Eventually betrays the team. She draws the line at having to go out of her way to save Colonel Diamond.
- You Gotta Have Green Hair
Rush/Project Retractable Weapons
Also known as Project R. Another ground fighter, who often works alongside Ekaterina. Rush, despite his gruesome powers, is very cultured and sophisticated and dreams of traveling the world one day. Sarcastic and snitty to almost everyone but Katya.
- Cultured Badass
- Deadpan Snarker
- Genius Bruiser: Can quote Shakespeare from memory, and is also a deadly melee fighter.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a scar over his eye.
- Lean and Mean: Though whether he's a villain depends on your perspective.
- Official Couple: With Katya.
- Shapeshifter Weapon: His powers enable him to sprout bladed weapons (swords, knifes, axes, spikes, etc.) from all over his body. He doesn't actually change shape, though.
- Turn Coat: Joins Katya in betraying the squadron.
Colonel Mitchell "Micky" Diamond
The guy in charge of the entire Program. Colonel Diamond is a rough, grizzled, no-nonsense man who loves only his wife, his children, and the platonic ideal of 1950's America; everyone else, including the Projects under his command, he treats like garbage.
- Colonel Kilgore
- Embarrassing First Name: But he doesn't find it embarrassing.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a bunch of scars on his face, making him appear even more menacing.
- MayDecember Romance: Is sleeping with the much younger Zenya. Squick.
Leader of the resistance against the Program. Hua is an ordinary human, but has always had strong anti-government sentiments; when he found out about the Program, he immediately decided to do something about it. And indeed, he can, because he has plenty of power, money and influence...enough to be a constant thorn in the Program's side.
- Cultured Badass: Very cultured and sophisticated—and can kick your ass in a physical fight.
- Limousine Liberal: Has shades of this.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy
- MayDecember Romance: In one with Kimio, intended to parallel Zenya/Diamond, but he and Kimio actually have genuine feelings for one another.
- Rich Idiot with No Day Job
- Skunk Stripe
- The Triads and the Tongs: Implied to be at least partially the reason why he has so much power and influence.
- Unfortunate Names: His name literally means 'earnest flower.' Somehow, he manages to be awesome anyway.
- Yaoi Guys: With Kimio.
Kimio Hua/Project Killer Mind
Also known as Project K. Zenya's brother, who escaped from the Program 3 years ago. A sneaky, subervise, well-spoken youth, Kimio desperately wants his sister to join him because, despite being on opposite sides, he still loves her dearly. To him, nothing is more important than following one's ideals.
- Cain and Abel: To an extent, with Zenya. Though exactly who is Cain and who is Abel is debatable.
- Foil: Zenya and Kimio are pretty much the opposite of each other, with starkly contrasting viewpoints and attitudes. Zenya willingly works for the Program so she can ensure her comrades' safety, while Kimio gladly chucks his comrades into the fire if he needs to but strives to free all the Projects and end the entire Program. Their respective relationships with Colonel Diamond and Ernest Hua also serve as Foils: Zenya/Diamond is born of lust and necessity, Kimio/Ernest of genuine care for each other.
- Hannibal Lecture: Quite fond of delivering these.
- Master of Illusion: His powers in a nutshell. They grow increasingly powerful the closer one comes to him.
- MayDecember Romance: With Ernest. He's seventeen, Ernest twenty-five.
- Right-Hand Hottie: To an extent. He certainly acts as Ernest's right-hand man.
- Smart People Play Chess: Subverted. He's very intelligent, but he sucks at chess. Ernest finds it hilarious.
- To the Pain: When he tortures Colonel Diamond.
- Yaoi Guys: With Ernest.