Briefing Vol 3 – Project Vulture – Project Hecate

Hello Everyone,

I’ve been catching up on my briefings and I wanted to make some comments about the Briefing Vol. 3. (the one that sets up the demo). I’ve also been through Retcon Raider’s briefing summaries. But otherwise, I don’t seem much discussion on the briefings on forum or otherwise. I think some discussion has taken place on the Discord but that just
scrolls on over the weeks. Obviously, spoilers and speculation.

First, I was really surprised that in The Legend of Fort Bacon Subject 17, formerly Lt. Daniel Stoller (the sniper) is being interrogated by Synedrion agents/soldiers and not a superior officer. And the whole entry is listed as being recorded on “prison cell audio”:

“I signed up for military service the moment I was eligible, which made me a full citizen. That’s how it works with us, you see. You gotta prove yourself to get anywhere, not like with Synedrion. No disrespect, I mean I know y’all mean well, I’m sure your havens are very nice, but New Jericho is about merit.”

I believe Stoller talking to Synedrion this is meant to suggest that Isaiah Thomson (the heavy) was unable to carry out his assigned task of killing his comrades after the successful completion of the Fort Freiheit mission (as described in ‘Heavy’). To me this reads as Synedrion actually finds Stoller in the Fort Freiheit prison after New Jericho abandoned it. There is no suggestion of the fate of any of the other demo soldiers but it seems like Thomson decided to put Stoller in prison and just leave him there to die. Maybe he did that with the others too. Or, maybe they killed themselves like good soldiers, while Stoller refused. Thomson is surely is no hero here, he’s a bad soldier. He couldn’t pull the trigger and didn’t want it appear as though he disobeyed orders.

I found the dynamic nature of Subject 16’s infection is also very interesting. The Pandora Virus is in control but Amanda, as she likes to be called, is still in there and even apologizes for infecting Irina Petyaeva while crying madly:

“I’m sorry,” Amanda says. She’s still smiling at me through the tears. “I had no choice.”

I was just purely fascinated by this aspect of the infection (and even more so later when this was elaborated on during the Big Egg story in the Briefing Vol. 4).

Now onto bigger things …

Project Vulture

I keyed into this idea proposed in the internal thoughts of Petyaeva where she describes Project Vulture as having “no solve”, as in “no solution”. For those who didn’t read it or don’t remember, Project Vulture is about interrogating subjects who are infected with the Pandora Virus. It seems like an ultimately futile effort and the New Jericho mindset really seems to be about containment and cutting away the rot, so what is the purpose of understanding the process of infection when they’re clearly going to kill and infected individual or cut out any infected body part?

In Retcon Raider’s video on vol. 3 he suggests that Vulture is actually a sub-component of Project Hecate and is actually designed to attract Pandora Virus mutants to Fort Freiheit, along with the hunting missions that Stroller leads. I agree with these suggestions. I’ll elaborate below.

Harlson is attempting to attract some major mutant flesh to Fort Freiheit by ordering attacks on roaming mutants and by keeping Subject 16 locked up. He’s really working in the background quite furiously in these stories.

“Sure, Tobias always said he had a plan, but there’s a difference between putting your trust in someone and seeing for your own eyes. Now, I’ve seen it. Project Hecate is a glimmer of hope for people who’ve lived without hope for a long time. It’s not ready yet, but it will be soon, if we do everything right.

At Fort Freiheit, we’ve got a crucial part to play, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anyone here fail.”

They can’t be baiting mutants for a fight, it would be simple wasteful suicide. Trying to win with bullets alone would be suicide. The futility and fatalism of approach is actually personified by J.P. Richter in Putting Bullets in Monsters. I am tempted to quote the Sun Tzu here but I think that would be a bit much. Anyways, apparently Havens survive by not attracting attention to them, as stated in the story titled Fort Freiheit by Harlson.

I believe Petyaeva was chosen as the interrogator by Harlson because she would bond with Amanda, which would cause the Pandora Virus to really have to push on Amanda telepathically to get her to attack Petyaeva. Because what New Jericho is really doing is collecting data on Pandora Virus telepathic communication.

– We play the demo – if you get the control room, we transmit some data to New Jericho and we kill the crabs.

Project Hecate

What is Project Hecate? Well we’re not supposed to know. But if it is linked to Project Vulture, as I believe it is, and as I said above, it has something to do with the telepathic link between the Pandora Virus mutants.

If I were a military oriented organization looking for a military solution to the Pandora Virus, my mindset would be to view them as a traditional enemy. And I’d understand they have the advantage in communication. I’d need a way to either decode or disrupt their communications. Also, while reading Fort Freiheit (the story), I noticed that there was quite a bit of text devoted to the types of transmissions and signals New Jericho uses to communicate. Harlson seems obsessed with the subject. And then there is Petyaeva’s cell phone, which harkens back to a time when humans had instantaneous global communication. I’m considering these subliminal messages within the text itself regarding the purpose of project Hecate. Obviously, I’m making a direct parallel to cryptographic encryption. New Jericho is attempting to code break enemy communication. It’s not the enigma machine precisely … not precisely but the principle is the same, which is how binary military/bureaucratic solutions tend to work.

Vulture was about provoking telepathic signals. Hecate is about blocking or decoding them. In the middle is Fort Freiheit (the place), which has been sacrificed to allow Project Hecate to collect a massive amount of data regarding the frequencies and other aspects of Pandora Virus telepathic communication.

And just to paint myself into a corner while I’m on a limb, I’m leaning towards decoding, rather than blocking transmissions as the purpose of Hecate. I looked up the name Hecate and there are lot of different aspects to this mythological figure. But, what stood out for me was that she served as a guide: “Hekate assisted Demeter in her search for Persephone, guiding her through the night with flaming torches.” http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/Hekate.html

And New Jericho shall guide humanity as flaming torches through the longest night. Victory over the enemies of humanity is assured by Project Hecate.

And one more little thing, Harlson’s character:

At this point, I want to say that I disagree with another piece of Retcon Raider’s speculation that considers whether or not Harlson was purposely infecting soldiers – including Petyaeva. Harlson is most definitely placing her at risk. The other two soldiers just happened to do something impulsive that got them infected. And, of course, Thomson is likely not infected at all (or maybe he is and they’d kill him at the rendezvous).

Risking someone is far different purposely infecting someone. Harlson, was likely the person who sent Petyaeva the text message because he was watching and wanted to get her out, knowing he could use her later. And he eventually did, but with the other infected soldiers and Thomson. I would suspect that accidental infection is quite common in the Phoenix Point universe. Nevertheless, some non-infected soldiers are sacrificed for the greater good, we see them all over the ground in the demo. The infected soldiers are conveniently there to be used as throwaways on a difficult mission. And then they wouldn’t talk about what they saw.

Gotta think big picture.

… I really hope he’s an in game character.

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Are you sure about that? Maybe he is talking in this way to the recording in case if someday some of Synedrion will see this. But camera probably was in interrogation room operated by New Jericho and his superior officer. :wink:

And at this point it is hard to say what Hecate may be. It may be some way of communication between NJ, or it may be attempt to break mutant’s communication. Or it may be just a name for a powerful weapon which is really effective against mutants, and may be used as that symbolical torch in the night - to break enemy lines without fear and hit where it will hurt them. :wink: Just my humble opinion.

EDIT. Oh and Harlson may be luring mutants to test his new project, but kept is as secret, as it could be taken as something against New Jericho’s beliefs and rules. And maybe Fort Freiheit was far away enough from mist and mutant territoties so they were not afraid of direct mutant raid. And hoped (Harlson and research team, not the regular base staff and soldiers) that, even if there is a risk of luring something bigger, they will manage to do everything necessary before it will happen. :wink:

Basically, I can’t be sure of any of the speculation. But I’m down for taking risks.

I’m 100% sure Stroller is talking to someone from Synedrion. If he’s not being interrogated, there is a Synedrion prisoner in jail with him. And that is plausible but unravels my whole theory. Just have to wait and see. If you have any theories, please share them.

What if Hecate really is not about communication but about locating the enemy. Guiding the soldiers so to speak. A hint is the voice over in BB2 when you activate the control room and tower you are warned about the approaching queen.

So far what I gathered from the short Stories and and B1-B3 is that the mist is a big unknown. Project Hecate could be about seeing into the mist.

I haven’t noticed stoller’s direct speech to someone from Synedrion before. But it makes sense in a way that he was maybe captured after his team disappeared under mysterious circumstances and he was put into a regular cell alongside another prisoner.

what is that? Nevertheless nice theory. :wink:

Or is it TB1-3? It supposed to be the abbreviation for The Briefing books.

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It’s actually related. A sort of project to allow the gathering of proper intelligence to combat your enemy. I think we’re on the right track.

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From Wikipedia: “Hecate is a goddess in ancient Greek religion and mythology, most often shown holding a pair of torches or a key and in later periods depicted in triple form.”

Synod of Yearning, Anyone?

“She was variously associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, light, magic, witchcraft, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, ghosts, necromancy, and sorcery.”

Given what she stands for, probably a reference to the darkness of the pandoravirus.

"In the post-Christian writings of the Chaldean Oracles (2nd–3rd century CE) she was regarded with (some) rulership over earth, sea, and sky, as well as a more universal role as Saviour (Soteira), Mother of Angels and the Cosmic World Soul. Regarding the nature of her cult, it has been remarked, “she is more at home on the fringes than in the center of Greek polytheism. Intrinsically ambivalent and polymorphous, she straddles conventional boundaries and eludes definition.”

So much here. Cult? Earth, sea, and sky rulership? Polymorphous?

Just from the definition of Hecate, I would bet that the project is based on taking down the Disciples of Anu, perhaps because of their perceived impurity and traitorous acts against the idea of being human, or because they mistakenly think taking them out would be a blow to the pandoravirus. New Jericho probably assumes the cult is in alliance with the monsters, and not trying to save humanity in their own weird way.

And can see that they fight against each other? They clearly had to see that Disciples are not in alliance with the virus. But this doesn’t mean that they don’t search for a way to eradicate Disciples. :wink: Maybe Hecate could be directed both agains DoA and PV. :wink:

This sounds a lot like the Exalted.

“Even now, I do not know how to describe her. She was not human, and yet, everything most beautiful about humanity was not only preserved in her form, but accentuated. She was more human than we were, a better kind of human. I found my eyes overflowing with tears.”

Excerpt From
The Briefing #4
The Last Patriarch
Jonas Kyratzes

Maybe project Hecate is about understanding or compromising the Exalted.

That makes sense, like lumping them into one category, essentially assuming that since they allow themselves to be infected, they are no better than the virus itself.

Indeed! They must have some intel on her, and if not her then the Synod of Yearning. Either entity could fit the bill, they each cover certain aspects of the Wikipedia definition.