The inadvertent brainchild of Rasheed and some of his colleagues, the Prometheus Project, like many horrible things, was founded with good intentions. Originated as a project to more thoroughly understand and hopefully learn from mutant abilities, it soon developed the rather severe flaw of neglecting to obtain consent for any of the experiments it did, which slowly grew more and more invasive in scope.
The first lab was opened in 2004, though at the time their methods were not so inhumane and their methods of obtaining subjects not so unethical. As the project grew in scope and the government got more and more heavily involved, pushing harder for the project to help in military ventures rather than its original focuses, their practices grew more brutal, eventually evolving into Prometheus as it is today -- an extensive nationwide operation that imprisons mutants and uses them as labrats in a wide variety of experiments intended to further everything from medicine to clean energy to military weapons.
Prometheus has research labs spread all throughout the country, most often but not always in isolated locations. The labs tend to be grouped around researcher interest -- maybe one lab specializes in looking into neurodegenerative diseases, maybe one lab specializes in trying to augment human strength, maybe one in physicists looking into energy weapons, etc. This sometimes means mutants with similar powers may be in the same labs, but not always -- there are many different applications to many different powers, and it isn't always an immediately intuitive line why someone's ability may be useful to someone else's research project.
The labs are specially built to house their captives, often well fortified and well guarded. Most often, the cell blocks where the prisoners are actually housed have technology built in to suppress active uses of mutant abilities, as well as often being equipped with shielding against psionic intrusion. Prometheus contracts with a private military contractor for security -- half of the guards working the labs are themselves mutants.
Despite rumors of mutants being snatched off the streets, that is not actually how Prometheus comes across most of their victims. Inmates arrive at the labs through a number of different avenues of dubious ethical status but, generally, more or less aboveboard legality.
By far the most common route into Prometheus is contact with the criminal system -- mutants get arrested, tied up somewhere in the legal system, end up in jail somewhere, someone complains they do not have facilities to properly house them, a judge assigns them to special detention in the Project. This happens with adults and children alike; it is common for people in the juvenile justice system to complain that delinquent mutant children are a danger to others in youth jails or group housing and have them end up in the labs via court order that way.
A secondarily common route into Prometheus is voluntary admission. Generally this happens when either a mutant themselves or the parents of a recently manifested minor child is seeking assitance (either with their mutation or, sometimes, an unrelated medical/psychiatric condition) and a medical professional who is unfamiliar with mutant issues recommends them to a Prometheus-affiliated doctor. Most often, the recommending doctor does not truly know the scope of what Prometheus does and just knows they are a program that "works with mutants"; most often, the mutant in question enters the program glad for a place to hopefully be able to figure out and get control of a confusing or dangerous power and only realizes significantly after they have checked themselves in that they have no easy recourse to leave again.
Doctors, researchers, security, custodians, etc, working at Prometheus come by their jobs the normal way of people who work in highly-security government positions. There are a lot of background checks involved; there are criminal penalties for whistleblowing, but as jobs go, it's stunningly routine.
If you would like a character whose backstory is connected with Prometheus, please talk to us to make sure that the history makes sense with ingame canon! If you would like a new labrat alt, there are infrequent raids that release fresh groups of Prometheus prisoners into the world -- it can take some planning to make sure the timing works out, but upcoming raids can be a great time to create a new Prometheus-connected character.
For many years now, a dedicated team of escapees from the Prometheus labs has been organizing to track down the labs, break into them, and get mutants out. They've been quite successful at it so far and have rescued hundreds of mutants; it has put them in a tense place with the government, who very much wants to arrest or kill them but does not quite want to spill the beans on their torture labs. Within the labs themselves, they are sort of a boogeyman to the workers, sort of rumoured mythical heroes to the mutants still imprisoned. Among the administration of the labs, a perpetual thorn in their sides.
Something like a community has sprung up among mutants who have been liberated from the labs. The Prometheus raid team makes an effort to keep in touch with all the people they have rescued, wanting to make sure they cannot again fall through the cracks and end up back in the labs -- while it's up to any given individual if they're interested in maintaining contact, many remain on neutral if not supportive or friendly terms with each other.
- Prometheus Raid Team:
- Prometheus Rescuees
- Prometheus Employees