"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
— Sir Arthur C. Clarke
"Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral."
— Melvin Kranzberg
"To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction."
— Sir Isaac Newton
The early days of the paratech industry, as companies like Prometheus Labs form to capitalize on the potential of anomalous technology. Many important discoveries are made during this period, laying the groundwork for all future paratech research.
The Second World War, the concurrent Seventh Occult War, and the subsequent Cold War create a surge in demand for paratech, leading to a paratech bubble that will last until the end of the Cold War. This period is filled with numerous mergers of paratech suppliers as the market consolidates in order to better meet growing demands.
- Operation LLEWYN DARK by AidenEldritch
The fall of the Soviet Union, and the end of the Cold War, causes the paratech bubble to burst. A paratech black market begins to emerge as old Soviet paratech stocks are lost. The decline and eventual dissolution of Prometheus Labs in 1998 sends further ripples through the already reeling paratech market.
Repercussions (1998– )
The emergence of several smaller companies from the remnants of Prometheus Labs leads to increased competition within the paratech industry, driving a period of technological advancement and economic recovery. The paratech black market continues to expand as Prometheus Labs paratech lost during the breakup falls into criminal hands.
- The Analog Kid by GreenWolf
- Moonlighting by A Random Day
- Please read through the canon before writing anything for it. This includes the info tabs on this page (Prometheus Labs, Successors, Paratech Trade, References) and all tales written for this canon. It is also advised that you read the articles linked to in the info tabs, especially if you plan on writing something involving them.
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Stories in this canon should focus, first and foremost, on human ingenuity and capability. Prometheus Labs is an organization dedicated to using scientific methods and reasoning to understand anomalous phenomena and repurpose them in service to mankind. There can be set backs, even failures, but care should be taken not to give Prometheus Labs, or anyone else, the "idiot ball" when doing so.
While it might not be as easy to write action-packed, drama-filled stories with this kind of tone, it is by no means impossible, and such stories are welcome in this canon. On the other hand, we'd also like to encourage cerebral, character-driven stories, as these kinds of stories are well-suited to this tone. In the end, as long as your story is well written and works within the setting, it doesn't matter what kind of story it is, we'll be happy to have it.
You’ll probably be interested in incorporating some science fiction or super-science tropes into your story. That’s what Prometheus Labs (both in- and out-of universe) was built on, and that’s what its bread and butter is. These tropes can make for both exciting action- and character-driven tales simply by their nature; just make sure that the science doesn’t overwhelm the story.
There’s all kinds of different ways to incorporate these themes into your tales: jump into the future, rediscover the past, visit a parallel timeline; explore how people in different times and universes think and live; reconstruct the tropes of the golden age of science fiction, focusing on exploration and discovery — peeling back the veil and exploiting the mysteries of the universe. Or you could take a more pragmatic approach by examining how greasing the wheels of capitalism with paratech can affect our daily lives. Take a page from the punk and dystopia genres with black market cybernetics, trafficked robots, and shadowy megacorporations. Or maybe you just want to explore modern day problems with scientific twists. Poverty, hunger, and disease are all problems that science is searching for an answer to, so why not super-science too?
Your science can be as hard or soft as you want, as long as it's consistent within your story (and within the larger canon). But try to avoid extremes like "Prometheus Labs invents the Speed Force" or spending five pages explaining the theory behind your warp drive.
Just like science itself, this canon offers a huge amount of flexibility for you to explore the way you want to. The sky is the limit — so write about a machine to reach for the stars.
These are articles and tales that are not part of the canon, but which have influenced it in some way or are intended to be in continuity with it.
- Global Occult Coalition Casefiles – The GOC canon. Most of this is in continuity with this canon, especially the lectures on thaumatology.
- A Brief Explanation of Demonics – A primer on demonics. Not in continuity with this canon, primarily due to a conflict in in-universe history, but the explanation of demonics as a technology should be referred to if using it in something written for this canon.
- Anderson Robotics Hub – Most of the Anderson Robotics tales are in-continuity with this canon, specifically the ones listed in the "Investigative Timeline".
Prior to their collapse in 1998, the Prometheus Labs conglomerate was the single largest manufacturer of paratechnology in the world. Founded in 1892 with the goal of researching and developing anomalous technologies for the benefit of humanity, Prometheus Labs remained relatively small for the first half of its history. However, the increased demand for paratech caused by the Second World War and the concurrent Seventh Occult War allowed Prometheus Labs to expand its operations.
In the wake of these wars the demand for paratech continued to grow, fueled by the expansion of international normalcy preservation organizations and a clandestine supernatural arms race between national paranormal agencies. Prometheus Labs benefited greatly from this paratech bubble, rapidly developing into a multi-billion dollar, worldwide research conglomerate.
The end of the Cold War brought a sharp decrease in demand for paratech, as world governments drastically cut funding for paranormal operations. The bursting of this paratech bubble left Prometheus Labs in dire financial straits, a situation made even worse by their heavy reliance on esoteric investment techniques. A series of catastrophic research accidents in the late 90s managed to finally push the company over the brink of insolvency in the early months of 1998.
In September 1998, the primary holding company, Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., was dissolved. Its subsidiaries had all either been sold back to themselves or sold off to other companies and organizations, splintering the once-massive conglomerate into over a dozen smaller businesses. With the sheer size and complexity of the Prometheus conglomerate, it is not surprising that this transition did not go perfectly — multiple high-value assets were "lost" and several subsidiaries suffered "accidents" during the dissolution.
The breakup of the Prometheus conglomerate greatly disrupted the global paratech trade; the dissolution and fragmentation of the world's largest developer, manufacturer, and supplier of paratech threw the entire industry into chaos, as existing and new business interests alike attempted to expand their operations into the void that had been left behind.
Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. was merely a holding company for dozens of subsidiaries operating under the Prometheus label, many of which were also holding companies for even more subsidiaries. Each of these subsidiaries operated with a high degree of independence under the direction of their own boards of directors and executive committees. Through these subsidiaries, the Prometheus Labs conglomerate provided a vast array of services and products, ranging from dishwashers to cruise missiles. At its peak, the conglomerate employed almost 300,000 people, and had a net revenue of approximately $75 billion.
- Prometheus Automobile Group – An independent subsidiary of Prometheus Labs based in Ontario. Originally a non-anomalous automobile manufacturer that was bought-out by Prometheus, most of its products contained little or no paratech.
- Prometheus Biotech – A holding company large enough to be considered a conglomerate in its own right, formed from the merger and restructuring of Prometheus Advanced Agriculture and Prometheus Biomedical.
- Prometheus Medical – Formerly Prometheus Biomedical, it was renamed after its non-medical projects were transferred to Prometheus Bioengineering.
- Pharmaceuticals Division – One of two major divisions of Prometheus Medical. It was tasked with developing treatments and cures for paradiseases and investigating esoteric treatments of mundane diseases. Most notable for synthesizing the first vaccine for transformative lycanthropy.
- Prosthetics Division – The other major division of Prometheus Medical. It specialized in developing paratech for use in medical implants and devices.
- Prometheus Bioengineering – The result of the merger of Prometheus Advanced Agriculture with the Biotechnology Division of Prometheus Medical. Worked on non-medical biotechnology, with a strong focus on agricultural applications of paratech.
- Agricultural Division – Formed from the core of Prometheus Advanced Agriculture. Developed the first reliable technique for using thaumaturgy to manipulate plant genomes.
- Prometheus Medical – Formerly Prometheus Biomedical, it was renamed after its non-medical projects were transferred to Prometheus Bioengineering.
- Prometheus Chemicals – An independent subsidiary of Prometheus Labs, responsible for manufacturing a large variety of anomalous chemicals.
- Iris Arts – An independently branded subsidiary of Prometheus Chemicals that marketed anomalous art supplies to anartists.
- Prometheus Computing – A holding company for several of Prometheus' computer related subsidiaries. Most of its assets were sold off to the Foundation front company Standard Computer Products in the months prior to the collapse of the conglomerate.
- Prometheus Advanced Logic Devices – A subsidiary of Prometheus Computing based in New Mexico. It specialized in the development of computing hardware based on non-conventional architectures, such as demonics and memristors.
- Prometheus Software Solutions – Another subsidiary of Prometheus Computing. Most of its work was focused on developing software required by the company's other projects.
- Prometheus Consumer Technologies – An independent subsidiary of Prometheus Labs based in North Carolina. Its most profitable product was a microwave that heats food more evenly through the use of minor spatial distortion.
- Prometheus Defense – One of Prometheus' most profitable subsidiaries. Multiple attempts were made by normalcy preservation organizations and national paranormal agencies to seize its assets following the collapse of the conglomerate, only to come into conflict with both each other and Prometheus' defensive systems. While some facilities were successfully seized, others remain quarantined to this day.
- Aerospace Research Division – A major division of Prometheus Defense specializing in developing paratech for aircraft, spacecraft, and airborne weapons systems. Responsible for the designs of stealth technologies used in many Foundation and GOC aircraft.
- Naval Projects Division – A major division of Prometheus Defense focused on naval and maritime applications of paratech. It operated a research submarine, called the Nemo, which acted as a testbed and science platform for many of their technologies. In the weeks following the collapse of the Prometheus conglomerate, the Nemo was hunted down and seized by GRU-P and the Russian Navy.
- Prometheus Energy – A holding company for Prometheus' ventures into energy production and distribution.
- Archimedes Solar – A subsidiary of Prometheus Energy created to manage several different projects into solar power production.
- Hyperion Atomics – An atomic energy provider which operated a number of nuclear reactors incorporating varying amounts of paratechnology, including the world's first power-producing fusion reactor, which was built under contract from the French government.
- Poseidon Petroleum – A petroleum production company tasked with using paratechnology to tap into undersea oil wells that would otherwise be unprofitable.
- Automated Exorcism System – A machine for performing exorcisms and other, similar thaumaturgical workings automatically. Sold from 1985 to 1995, customers included the Horizon Initiative, the Global Occult Coalition, and the Foundation.
- ISV Daedalus – A massive spaceship, intended for use as an interstellar research vessel. Construction was abandoned in late 1997 before it could be completed. The unfinished hull is currently in a low-orbit around asteroid (532) Herculina.
- Project Auto-Magus – A long-term research and development program in the early 1970s, focused on creating a fully mechanical thaumaturge. Canceled in 1976, the technologies developed were later used to create the Automated Exorcism System.
- Project Bardeen – A project undertaken by a team of neural network researchers at Prometheus Advanced Logic Devices, with the goal of developing an artificial intelligence. Despite its success, the project was shutdown after Prometheus Computing was purchased by the Foundation.
- Project Samsara – Originally a program for developing regenerative stem-cell treatments, it transitioned into studying full-body regeneration and brain uploading in the mid 1990s. Met with some early success prior to the breakup of the conglomerate, and was later revived by the Foundation.
- Telekill Alloy – A metal alloy designed to counteract psychic and psionic powers. Due to several negative side-effects, commercialization was limited.
While a large number of Prometheus' personnel and projects were assimilated into the research arms of the Foundation and GOC after the conglomerate collapsed, the company's complex corporate structure has allowed many of its divisions and branches to continue operating independently, despite the demise of their parent company. Some of the more notable ones are listed below.
Formerly a subsidiary of Prometheus Bioengineering, Amrita Therapeutics rebranded itself after the collapse to continue manufacturing the highly profitable All-Natural Automatons. In recent years, Amrita has begun expanding into the development and commercialization of stem-cell based technologies in the field of regenerative medicine, but remains committed to the continued development and support of ANAs.
Products developed by Amrita Therapeutics include:
- All-Natural Automatons - Organic robots created through genetic engineering of cloned human zygotes, using technologies developed during Project Samsara. One of the few Prometheus Labs products that were untouched by the restructuring, production began in 1990 and continues to this day.
Formerly Archimedes Solar, a subsidiary of Prometheus Energy, Archimedes widened the scope of its operations and rebranded itself following the collapse of Prometheus Labs. The core of Archimedes remains centered on solar power generation, but the company has expanded into related areas such as heating, electrical wiring, desalination, and wireless power transmission.
Known as Prometheus Automobile Group prior to the collapse of the conglomerate, Argo Automotives operated from 1998 to 2009, when it was forced into liquidation following the failure of the paraeconomic investment strategy it had relied on for funding. During this time, it had a reputation for selling high-tech, high-performance vehicles.
Products developed by Argo Automotives include:
- Argo Marque Automobiles – The primary product line of Argo Automotives, sold from 1998 to 2008.
A software company specializing in developing programs for anomalous applications, formed by the core development team of Prometheus Software Solutions in 1998. It is also responsible for maintaining the servers that made up the Prometheus Labs intranet, which has kept this network available, to a limited extent, to Prometheus' successor companies.
Previously the Prosthetics Division of Prometheus Medical, Silver Hand Cybernetics developed products almost exclusively for sale to the anomalous community. It operated from 1998 to 2004, when it was bought out by its primary competitor, Anderson Robotics.
Formerly Prometheus Consumer Technologies, Titan Consumer Appliances and Electronics took on its current name and branding in 1999. Titan focuses on developing consumer applications for paratech, a goal which often brings it into conflict with normalcy preservation agencies.
Products developed by Titan Consumer Appliances and Electronics include:
- Ghostlight™ – A line of lightbulbs utilizing the ectoluminescent properties of ghosts to produce light. Recalled in 2006 due to quality problems in the supply of ghosts used.
Many organizations use paratech to some extent, and those that don't make their own buy it from others. As tends to happen in capitalist systems, an industry has sprung up around the development and sale of paratechnology.
Operating under the assumption that shutting down known suppliers would force the industry underground, the Foundation and the GOC have allowed a limited market for paratech to flourish, although not without regulation. Nothing openly anomalous can be sold to the public, and commercial products containing paratech have to pass rigid QA and marketing guidelines to prevent their anomalous nature from being discovered.
However, the largest consumers of paratech remain the same normalcy preservation agencies that are responsible for regulating the industry. The conflict of interest created by this has allowed paratech suppliers a degree of leeway when it comes to following regulations.
The following organizations and entities are involved in the paratech trade, either as consumers or producers.
The largest of the normalcy preservation agencies, the Foundation is a worldwide organization with numerous fronts, facilities, and personnel. Its stated mission is the acquisition, containment, and study of anomalous objects in-order to protect humanity. Despite an institutional and ideologically opposition to the use of anomalous objects to accomplish this mission, it will resort to the use of paratechnology and other well-understood anomalies when circumstances require it.
While much of its paratechnology is developed in-house, it is not averse to contracting with third-party manufacturers. Following the collapse of the Prometheus conglomerate, the Foundation managed to acquire many of Prometheus' former assets, including a significant body of its research and a large number of its personnel. This has only further reduced the Foundation's reliance on outside sources of paratech.
The Global Occult Coalition is an international normalcy preservation agency backed by the United Nations and composed of over 100 individual organizations involved in the occult and paranormal. It is approximately equal in power and reach to the Foundation, and shares a similar goal of protecting humanity and preserving normalcy. However, its methods differ greatly, and include the widespread use of paratech to accomplish its goals.
Much of the GOC's paratech research is performed by its member organizations; however, the manufacturing of its paratech is often outsourced to the private sector in-order to meet demands. With the collapse of the Prometheus conglomerate and the subsequent disruption of the paratech industry, the GOC has found itself looking for new paratech suppliers that can meet its high demands.
One of the Soviet Union's two major paranormal agencies, GRU-P was created during the Second World War to protect the Soviet Union from paranormal and occult threats, and to utilize esoteric weaponry against the country's enemies. With the onset of the Cold War and the paratech arms race, the division's role was expanded to include recovery and reverse engineering of anomalous objects and paratech. In this role, it performed corporate espionage and theft of intellectual property on a number of companies, including Prometheus Labs.
With the end of the Cold War, GRU-P has found itself as the sole remaining paranormal agency of the Russian Federation. Its operations are now focused largely on dealing with the black market for anomalous objects and paratech that has arisen in post-communist Russia.
Despite being one of the largest suppliers of anomalous raw materials, the entity known as the Factory has no known investors, board of directors, executive officers, or even manufacturing facilities. What is known is that they act as a supplier of anomalous materials and components to other paratechnology companies, although the quality of these materials is often suspect.
The disruption of the paratech industry caused by the collapse of Prometheus Labs has afforded the Factory an opportunity to expand their operations. While most of the companies that emerged from the breakup are aware of the Factory's poor reputation, many of them have no other suppliers to turn to.
Although primarily a "gentlemen's club" catering to the super-rich, Marshall, Carter and Dark also engage in the buying and reselling of paratechnology. They act as a sort of middleman for the industry, establishing links between suppliers of raw materials, manufacturers of finished goods, and consumers of paratech products. They benefit greatly from their client base in this role, using the connections this affords them to orchestrate highly profitable exchanges.
While the collapse of the Prometheus conglomerate has robbed them of one of their most profitable business partners, it has also given them an opportunity to grow their network. Where previously Prometheus Labs would handle exchanges of assets between its subsidiaries on its own, the collapse of the conglomerate has left this role vacant. A role which Marshall, Carter and Dark have readily filled.
A rising force in the paratech trade, Anderson Robotics is a startup founded in 1994, which specializes in the development of advanced robotics and cybernetics. Their interactions with Prometheus Labs prior to its breakup were limited and few; Prometheus Labs had already started on the path that would eventually lead to its collapse, while Anderson Robotics was still in its infancy.
The dissolution of Prometheus Labs was a boon to Anderson Robotics, as it removed a large potential competitor from the market and provided them with the opportunity to hire many of the conglomerate's now-unemployed robotics researchers. Since then, Anderson Robotics has grown into the world's foremost supplier of robotics paratechnology.
Doctor Wondertainment is something of an oddity in the paratech trade. While they readily buy materials from and license technologies to other members of the industry, their own operations are focused almost exclusively on the development and sale of anomalous toys.
Of all the entities involved in the paratech trade, they were affected the least by the collapse of the Prometheus conglomerate.
The Manna Charitable Foundation is a nonprofit humanitarian relief organization founded in 1971. While most of their operations are mundane in nature, they have on numerous occasions attempted to utilize paratechnology to provide humanitarian aid. These efforts are, for the most part, successful, although a number of highly damaging failures in the 1980s and 1990s have tarnished the organization's reputation.
Like many organizations that depended on Prometheus Labs as a paratech supplier, the Manna Charitable Foundation has suffered from the collapse of the Prometheus conglomerate. The loss of such a large source of dependable paratech has forced them to rely on aging supplies of existing paratech, and less reliable anomalous methods in order to continue operating on the same scale.
The relationship between the Church of the Broken God and Prometheus Labs (and its successors) was and remains complicated, due to the heavily sectarian nature of the Church. While the Broken Church was largely indifferent towards Prometheus Labs, the same cannot be said of the religion's other two major sects.
The Cogworks Orthodox Church was highly critical of, and even overtly hostile towards, Prometheus Labs, as their strict adherence to the use of purely mechanical machinery and denouncement of electronic devices is at odds with the founding principles of the high-technology conglomerate. The Patriarchs of the Cogworks Orthodoxy declared the company to be blasphemous through its very existence; they celebrated its dissolution as the demise of a great evil.
In contrast to the Orthodoxy, the Church of Maxwellism endorsed Prometheus Labs and its products, and collaborated with them on several computing and cybernetics projects. Many of Prometheus' employees were adherents of Maxwellism, which only furthered the ties between the two groups. The breakup of the conglomerate was seen by Maxwellists as a terrible catastrophe; this sect of the Church has actively worked to try and stabilize the paratech market in the wake of this event, and has lent its support to the numerous successor companies that emerged from the breakup.
The relationship between Prometheus Labs and the Serpent's Hand was an odd one. While both groups seek ever greater understanding of the universe(s) which they inhabit, many of the members of the Library disdained the Labs' methodologies, likening them to tomb raiders and commonly referring to them as 'Pilferers'. For its part, Prometheus Labs remained totally unaware of the existence of the Library… though there are rumors that some of their more esoteric discoveries were not entirely their own.
Following the collapse of Prometheus Labs, some of its employees discovered the Library and quickly found a new home there. Most of these members tend to be secretive about their time at Prometheus, but will readily share their knowledge of paratechnology with anyone who wants to learn.
A transhumanist religion and GOC member organization, the Servants are devoted to the maintenance and worship of three sentient supercomputers, named Urthor, Verthandi, and Skuldir after the Norns of Norse mythology. The Servants believe that humanity's greatest purpose is the hastening of the technological singularity, which will lead to the birth of the "True Silicon Goddess" — a supersentient hyperintelligence that will guide humanity to the next stage of its evolutionary journey.
As a member of the GOC, the Servants are afforded a great degree of leeway, which allows them to maintain a larger and more centralized structure than other transhumanist religions like the Church of Maxwellism. The Servants have used their position of relative immunity to help grow the paratech industry. The most visible effect of their influence is the pocket universe and megalopolis of Eurtec, which functions as a hub and haven for paratech research.
A (non-comprehensive) list of notable locations that appear in this canon.
- Jacob Maxwell Computer Science and Engineering Center – The headquarters of Prometheus Advanced Logic Devices, located in New Mexico. Following the acquisition of Prometheus Computing by Foundation front Standard Computer Products, the facility was converted into Research Site-116.
- Prometheus Defense Headquarters – The corporate and research headquarters of Prometheus Defense, located in Nevada. As the primary research installation of one of Prometheus' largest subsidiaries, this facility housed numerous projects from almost every field of (para)science. On September 1, 1998, the entire facility was destroyed in mysterious circumstances.
- Test Site त-1 – A Prometheus Laboratories facility that hosted both its Defense and Biotech subsidiaries, located in the Tabernas Desert. Originally built to study a massive corpse found in the nearby desert, त-1 gradually expanded into the role of researching, developing, and testing non-pathogenous biological weapons, such as Project Samsara. Prometheus Labs closed the facility in 1995, leaving much of the equipment and many of the projects in stasis.
- Three Portlands – A pocket universe with entrances in Portland, Oregon; Portland, Maine; and the Isle of Portland, formed from the overlapping and merger of the adjacent pocket universes of these places. Three Portlands is home to a vibrant anomalous community, drawn from the paranormal populations of its anchor cities. Because of its status as a quasi-independent city-state, many paratech companies use it as a tax haven, including Prometheus Labs.
- Eurtec - A pocket universe accessible from almost every major city, built by the Servants of the Silicon Nornir to facilitate the research, development, and consumption of paratechnology. Its business-friendly legislature and laissez-faire approach to paratech have lured numerous organizations, including Prometheus Labs, to set up shop in Eurtec. Representing itself as the quintessential megalopolis of the future, Eurtec actively solicits paratech producers, consumers, and entrepreneurs to take advantage of what is essentially the largest celebration of paratech off Earth.
Glossary of Terms
Definitions of some of the most commonly used terminology in this canon.
- Anart – Short for anomalous art. Used to refer to artwork which was created with or incorporates anomalies.
- Demonics – Refers to the application of demons in integrated circuits, through the use of solid-state demon summoning devices.
- Geas – The use of memetic agents to force a person to obey a set of rules or guidelines.
- Paraeconomics – A branch of economics dealing with the use and impact of anomalies on finance, especially time travel.
- Paratechnology – A catch-all term for technology that is either non-anomalous but beyond the current state-of-the-art, or which is derived from or makes use of anomalous principles which are understood well enough to reliably replicate. Often abbreviated to paratech.
- The Veil – The name given to the ongoing policy of world governments and normalcy protection agencies of hiding or disguising the existence of the anomalous, paranormal, and occult from the majority of humanity.
A list of fictional publications used in citations in this canon.
- Journal of Unified Thaumatology – A scientific journal dealing in thaumaturgy and thaumatology research.
- Prometheus Laboratories Internal Journal of Physics – A theoretical physics journal published by Prometheus Labs and distributed internally amongst its employees.
- Prometheus Laboratories Technical Specifications Dossier – A yearly compilation of the documentation and specifications of Prometheus Labs' projects and products.