The Human Endurance Program was an Amarr eugenics project originally designed to stress-test the physical abilities of the conquered Minmatar tribes. It eventually evolved into a more comprehensive breeding program that lead, among other things, to the creation of the Kameiras.
The Human Endurance Program was devised shortly after the first Minmatar slaves were taken by the Amarr Empire. Unlike the previous races that were enslaved, the Minmatar tribes were highly diversified and had great physical differences from each other. Holders quickly decided that certain tribes must be more suited to certain tasks than others and enjoined scientists to prove these facts.
The trials were brutal and inhumane leading to horrific maiming and death. Subjects were exposed to vacuum, extreme heat, cold, and pressures; they were forced to work until they dropped, had weight piled on them until their bones shattered. Some were subject to tortures just to measure their pain tolerance, with nails pulled out to the root, skin flayed off, muscle peeled away, bones snapped and set without pain medication. One experiment essentially cooked slaves alive to see which would last the longest.
The results of the project proved of little interest to the Holders, however. While some of the tribes proved more or less capable in particular areas, it was only by a matter of percentage points, and an individual could vary wildly from his tribe's baseline. The funding for the project was gradually withdrawn, as Holders saw little benefit in further losing slaves to experimentation.
H.E.P. with much of its funding cut due to insignificant results was in danger of being eliminated completely. Though enterprising Holders saw the potential in the collected data. The tribes, as they stood held little variance, with the proper breeding programs and genetic modifications, the gaps could be widened. Strengths could be selectively bred for, while weaknesses were eliminated. A tribe that excelled in high heat could be bred to work on planets close to a system's star, while a tribe that did well in low-pressure could be used on asteroid mining colonies.
This new group of Holders provided their own slaves to be experimented on, with those individuals deemed most suitable bred. Early efforts were directed toward producing better workers: slaves who could survive harsh elements, brutal conditions, and long hours with little rest and sustenance.
It took several generations of slaves before noticeable results were realized, but it proved worthwhile to the Holders who had invested in it. Their slaves not only improved their own output, other Holders quickly caught on and wanted the slaves for themselves. The Holders involved with the H.E.P. were able to sell their elite slaves at a premium, commanding several times the normal price per head. It should be noted that the eugenics of the H.E.P. continued to produce notable failures, and that the program's profit margin was established at least partly through the organizer's access to high numbers of subjects and their willingness to tolerate, and eradicate, a constant churn of failures.
The Human Endurance Program quickly expanded after its results were proven. The Amarr military, impressed with the results of a focus on labor, backed the project to develop the perfect front-line soldier. The program jumped at the chance, eager to acquire financial backing and the prestige associated with working for the Imperial Navy.
The project initially focused on training and re-educating regular slaves, but this proved insufficient. As they were few slaves were willing to fight for their captors; indeed, many simply turned their weapons on their commanders at the first opportunity. However, the idea was too promising to simply give up on, so more expansive methods were developed.
Slaves were bred for pure strength, with the children taken and raised from birth according to a specially developed regiment. This proved highly effective, creating a group of soldiers who knew nothing, but the Amarr faith and warfare, ready to lay down their lives for the Empire.
Decline and EndEdit
After the production of the Kameiras, the H.E.P. moved on to other tasks. Despite some minor improvements in their previous products, they never again achieved any new major developments. Mostly, the program was relegated to administration and upkeep of the Kameiras and other slave populations.
Over the years, the leading scientists on the project passed way or moved on to other endeavors. The program struggled along for a few more decades, but eventually ended. With the outbreak of the Minmatar Rebellion, the last vestiges of the project were finally dispersed and the Kameiras program was completely taken over by the Navy.
Aside from the creation of the Kameiras, the H.E.P. has had a lasting impact on the Minmatar tribes. Few groups escaped being touched by the program in some way. By the time of the Minmatar Rebellion, slave lines created by the Human Endurance Program accounted for a notable part of the slaves in the Empire.
There is much debate exactly how different the modern Minmatar people are from their ancestors thanks to the H.E.P. Some extremists claim that the Minmatar of today are nothing like their pre-contact ancestors, occasionally even claiming the tribes themselves are artificial Amarr creations.
Respected scientists on both sides dismiss this notion, however, pointing to clear records from prior to the conquest that mention the tribes. However, descriptions of the physical characteristics of the tribes are often muddied by legend, contradiction, and exaggeration. Concrete records were destroyed in the conquest, and even more were damaged during the Rebellion.
What is little in debate, however, is that the Human Endurance Program's legacy endures in the genetic code of the Minmatar.