Beginning in 1976, Project Ascension was the name of a black ops US Military project to create aerial scouts and infiltrators to operate with minimal support behind enemy lines. The Project began working on the creation of chimeric scouts breed primarily from avian stocks which would be inhabited by human operators.
To accomplish their goals Project Ascension arranged for the ‘death’ and disappearance of many top scientists in relevant fields, including several supervillains.
After years of cultivating different generations through accelerated growth, the Avian morph was completed. Bred in two variants; Owl and Falcons mixed with other genetic strands such as humans, bats and canines.
The next phase of the project proved less ethical; Putting human minds in the lobotomized chimeric bodies. Rather than risk their top assets in early experiments, the Project recruited from several sources; preying on desperate felons looking for reprieve and disabled ex-service members being offered a ‘fix’ in exchange for their service to their country.
After two years and many deaths, the procedure was perfected with approximately four hundred successful transplant and only a 12% fatality rate, deemed acceptable. However the Project was taken aback when their control measure failed and they found themselves in the midst of a subject riot. Ill-prepared for such an occasion, the newly born Avian overran the facility and seized control of the surrounding area.
An effort to retake facility and hush the whole affair was rendered impossible when the Legion intervened, one of them member having sensed something in the area. As such the Avians remained alive and the complex along with the nearby land were quarantined.
Years later, the Avian still rule over their little domain which they defend against intruders. An oversight caused them to remain fertile and as such their populations has exploded in recent years estimated at about a thousand individuals.
At their core both breeds of Avians are very similar; four foot tall humanoid barn owls and falcons.
Avians are extremely slender humanoids covered in feathers with hollowed out bones to reduce their mass.
Their arms include massive wings that allow them to fly, which include a bat-like anatomical modification to allow them to fold their wings as to be able to more practically use their hands at the ‘end’ of their upper limb. Their legs are extremely thin and end in talons both for offensive purpose and to allow better perching. This however mean that Avians are fairly slow on land.
To better be able to take care of their nutritional needs away from supply lines, Avians were designed as omnivores with optimized stomach and intestines as to rapidly and efficiently digest most food stuff to fuel their flight.
Avians as a whole have excellent depth perception and their sight is optimized to perform well in long distance and low-light conditions.Another bat inspired ability is their ability to use echolocation.
Avians are equipped with transgenic vocalization system capable of a wide range of sound. As such Avians can speak not only human languages but could in fact learn to speak Gimelian languages.
Avian sexual dimorphism is minimal and primarily rely on feather colors and patterns.
Life Cycle & Reproduction
Although never intended to breed by the project’s higher up, the Avians were nevertheless equipped with a reproductive systems which the newly freed Avians quickly discovered.
After mating with a male of its breed, the female will lay a clutch of three to five white round eggs which must be incubated (females develop a sparsely feathered area rich with blood vessels for this purpose)
After about a month of incubation, the youngs hatch of their eggs with the help of an egg tooth. Once hatched, the Hatchlings are born blind and featherlss. Chicks require massive amount of food to grow, a residual effect of the force-growth used on their parents mean hatchlings reach maturity after only seven years.
Born-Avians are similar to their parents both physically and mentally although tend to have stronger instinctual behaviors.
Avian brains were developed from Human, avian and canine genestock; combining human intellect, avian predatory instinct and three-dimensional thinking, Dog genelines were added to foster cooperation and pack behavior.
As such, Avians tend to have several personality quirks that they did not have before transformation. One of them being territoriality, however unlike normal raptors, Avians share territory with their own kind.
The vast majority of Avians remain in their domain, living fairly typically lives and trying to provide for their kin. The Project Ascension facilities have been re-purposed as their own domain and home.
The Aerie as it has been dubbed is currently under the control of it’s leader; dubbed the ‘white wing’ who has taken an anti-human attitude in recent years; having his loyalists attack and capture intruders.
Avians have developed their own rudimentary language to communicate among themselves. However it is not a true language and generally only communicate the most basic of information. It also lacks a writing system.
Human and Avian history has been rocky from the start. The Aerie claims about a hundred square mile of land in the Rockies between Montana and Idaho where the Project Ascension base was established.
Although Territorial, the Avians have relied on human foreign aid to properly take care of their needs, something which has created tension and detractors both species; with Avians wanting to be autonomous and self-sufficient and many humans believing that no help should be given to a hostile species.
The relationship only worsened in 2011 when the White Wing took leadership of the Aerie and furthered the Avian’s isolationism and territoriality; going as far as capturing and ransoming intruders in their territory and raiding nearby settlements.
Still not all is negative; a sixth of the Avian population has left the Aerie and integrated into human society. Most notable of which is the Legion’s own Chickcharnie.