|Syndicate weather control test.|
|Function||Weather Manipulation, Superweapon|
|Brief||Using a giant mirror to alter the weather in a given area by dumping concentrated sunlight on it.|
Many of the world’s greatest weapons have come about as a result of decades of concentrated research, and mountains of cash injections. It is therefore something of a surprise that the greatest weapon at the Syndicate's disposal came about as a result of a complete accident. The original developer wasn't one of the big development corporations such as Syndicate Laboratories, or Oedipus Committee Productions. One of the most powerful weapons that the world has ever seen, was originally developed by the humble AgriCorp farming company, based in northern Italy, on the shores of Lake Garda.
AgriCorp was one of the Syndicate's top food produces. Their cheap, fertiliser pumped, preservative enhanced, pesticide laced crops are one of the staple foodstuffs that go towards feeding the average sprawl dweller. They are well known for producing tomatoes the size of beach-balls, even if the taste is quite remarkably unpleasant. Many square kilometres of northern Italy are given over to raising vast fields of chemically enhanced crops, in order to feed the extraordinarily densely populated sprawls.
A recent series of bad investments had hit AgriCorp hard. Rival companies were starting to pull ahead with new techniques, which AgriCorp had been too slow to adopt, and the purchase of discarded "fertiliser" from the farms in the Soviet Union had unexpectedly dissolved many tonnes of potential crops. Gambling all or nothing, AgriCorp's R&D division proposed a bold venture that, if successful, could see AgriCorp come back out on top again.
The plan was simply to put a large mirror in space. The project, codenamed "Aegis", involved buying cargo space on a Syndicate VentureStar flight, and putting a deployable 500 m wide metallic disc in orbit, to reflect sunlight onto a portion of the earth's surface. The goal was to increase sunlight intensity over their crop fields, hence increasing the yield of their produce. The company threw all their remaining capital behind the project, and 4 years after the idea was conceived, "Aegis" was launched without a hitch.
The plan worked stunningly well. For 24 hours a day, AgriCorp's fields were bathed in brilliant sunlight, "Aegis" itself appearing as a miniature sun in the night sky. The crop output boomed, and AgriCorp rose from 5th, to 4th, and finally to 3rd in the standings of the Syndicate's major agricultural companies. It was then, that Lorenzo Beneventi, the engineer behind "Aegis", noted something unusual. Rainfall patterns around the satellite’s footprint differed quite significantly compared to the previous years' patterns. Something unusual was clearly going on.
After hiring a number of meteorologists and climatologists, Lorenzo was able to put together a theory. The extra solar radiation influx in the target area was effectively dumping several gigawatts of thermal energy into the atmosphere. That heat had to go somewhere, and as weather patterns are dependent upon atmospheric temperatures and relative air densities, the heat influx manifested itself as a change in prevailing weather conditions. Winds would be subtly diverted from their normal patterns, and rains would fall in different locals. Lorenzo bought his discovery to AgriCorp's board, and the board very quickly saw the potential of such a fearsome power.
AgriCorp bought out huge numbers of data crunching servers, and hired dozens of qualified meteorologists to perform weather pattern simulations. When their calculations were completed, the orbital position and angle of "Aegis" was subtly altered, directing its gentle heating of the atmosphere from one location to another. In a matter of months, AgriCorp went from 3rd to 1st in the agricultural company standings. Rivals suddenly found their livestock being washed away by freak flash floods, and their crops cooked by month long droughts. AgriCorp dominated its business rivals; however, ultimately it was their success that was their own downfall.
It is unknown if Romulus himself had any part in what followed next, but it was clear that the highest echelons of the Syndicate had noted AgriCorp's supposed good fortune. Private investigators soon uncovered the truth about the "Aegis" project. In a huge raid, hundreds of Legion Security personnel descended from helicopter zip lines onto the headquarters of AgriCorp. The entire management and research staff were either hauled off for interrogation, or involved in "accidents" and were never seen again. The master control centre for "Aegis" was stripped out, and currently resides several hundred metres below Company Plaza Square, outside Syndicate HQ in Rome.
Weather manipulation has proven to be one of the most useful technologies at the Syndicate's disposal. The anonymity of the weapon when used for strategic purposes is unparalleled. If the Syndicate wished to disrupt an army, without engaging them and risking retaliation, "Aegis" once again is subtly positioned. Infantry divisions are flung to the ground by hurricane strength winds, armoured vehicles are drowned under torrential rains, and the skies are rent asunder by the never ending torrent of lightning strikes. Unfortunately, it requires truly vast amounts of processing power to plot the necessary locations for heat influx. Also, it was pointed out that the original sunlight based "Aegis" system took far too long to set up a storm cell. Instead, commanders authorised to use weather manipulation must construct a large, ground based, infrared emitter array to provide the necessary energy to summon up a storm. The infrared energy is reflected off the "Aegis" satellite, into key weather systems, and used to bring about the necessary conditions for a super-storm. Never the less, it should be made well clear to all commanders, that if one of these arrays is noticed near a battlefield, then the perfect storm cannot be too far away.