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Did some small amounts of tweaking in the revisions, but the original app is left as is in the original post.  This was just a touch long for comments.


AU Expanded History:

For this universe, the project went pretty much the same as canon up to a point. Specifically, the key starting difference was Epsilon himself. Instead of an AI fragment that was rapidly unraveling from the moment they removed it from the Alpha, continuing until he was implanted and self-terminated in his host? He was a more stable AI than in canon, with the worst of the memories that drove him unstable held back by a partition. A thin wall that sometimes let information through, but allowed him to remain stable.

Washington himself wasn't exactly outstanding among the Freelancers, but he was a competent fighter as well as quick and effective on the battlefield. Calm and not prone to jumping into things lightly. He watched as the others started being implanted with their assigned AIs. Some seemed to be successful, and he never really thought twice about them, though he was extremely wary of Omega and Texas.

Then, there was Carolina. The short lived guinea pig agent that was given two AIs at the same time. The failure that made Washington actually regret joining the project. The one that actually made him dread his own upcoming implantation. If the project is willingly taking chances like that, what might he end up with?

But Washington couldn't get out now. He was long past the point of no return, and his implantation with Epsilon happened. The initial implantation went well, but the period of adjustment afterward was long and difficult. The pair's personalities as well as Epsilon's innate distrust of humans were a source of many difficulties. In fact, Washington's performance actually suffered a decline thanks to the unpredictable behavior and antics of his implanted AI partner. To put it simply, Epsilon was out of control.

The surprising results led the project putting on hold further implantation plans while they observed the strange development, working on plans to try to reign in the AI and get the performance increases that had been noticed in other subjects. This included making very specific instructions on Washington needing to take a heavy hand with the overrides that the AI couldn't ignore.

In the months that the observation of Washington and Epsilon continued, other things started to change and go wrong within the project with some of the other agents. It started simply with the AIs started to request to see the Alpha. The original. Epsilon was among them, but nowhere near as insistent to the ones running the project. He knew it would do no good. Instead, he worked with his host to make an arrangement that eventually, Washington would help him with finding the Alpha, but they'd do it alone. Too many would put things in danger.

The others had been making plans though. They wanted to get to the Alpha, and they convinced their partners to cooperate. There was a brief attempt to get Washington and Epsilon involved, but Epsilon refused, citing that he and his host were a liability thanks to the close observation they were under. They were still a fascinating pair of subjects for study.

But even with that, command was starting to catch wind of something, and plans began to start removing the AIs from hosts. Something that ended up spurring the other AIs and their partners into pushing the planned raid forward. As in canon, it failed and the Alpha was removed to elsewhere for safekeeping. And finally, that was the last straw, leading to the beginnings of the AI removal and purge, though the AIs were really just being stored away in spite of what the agents were led to believe, as it was cheaper to store them than delete them.

Washington and Epsilon weren't exactly happy at the news, and when the removals started with other pairs, Epsilon started to panic, even though they hadn't been scheduled yet. Others had actually acted and fled the project. In Texas and Omega's case, they fled rather violently. Something that Epsilon didn't blame them for, but it just made it more likely that Epsilon and Washington would end up on the schedule.

In the midst of all this, Command had arranged for further testing and training for the pair, not that they ever explained why. Because of their behavior, they were being considered for other purposes. They were potentially useful, as they were seemingly trustworthy. Including the recovery of now escaped military property.

Toward the end of the training, Epsilon and Washington were still having difficulties, and Epsilon was afraid Command might remove him for it. Exceedingly paranoid. But they left him with Washington for a reason. Because, after Carolina, they knew Washington wouldn't dare try to take a second AI in possible recovery missions from his psychological evaluations after.

Epsilon actually was debating trying to force his host into escaping, in control of Washington's body. He walked through a door though, and ended up someplace completely outside his expectations.

All the outside events with Bloodgulch happen as in canon, and the Meta is slowly getting ready to start killing for AIs.

Canon point:  Just prior to its timeline's equivalent of the Meta's killing spree.  See the timeline for more detail.

Epsilon's Personality:

Epsilon is a rather unique personality.  One might expect him to be a clone of the Alpha AI that he is the memories of.  And in some ways, he is.  He's moody and has a bad attitude at times as might be expected from the Church of canon.  He really isn't very fond of his assigned partner, and it shows.  He's not really all that different than Church is to his teammates.  Just a lot more heavy-handed, with the ability to take over his partner on a whim.

There's also an odd fascination with Agent Texas that he never could properly explain to anyone.  But between her personality and the Omega AI, he does his best to hide it, and it's only really know to Washington.

But there's another side to him, including a large amount of disdain and paranoia towards humans in general and those in charge of the Project in particular.

Unlike Church, and surprising, considering his paranoia, Epsilon actually does have a bit of a odd sense of humor and an unusual amount of curiosity about the world around him.  A prankster at times.  It's as though he realized how serious and boring a partner he had and made a goal to be as far from him in behavior as is possible.  And Washington's reservedness has led to him wanting to see what he thinks he's missing out on because of his boring partner.

Epsilon's Abilities: 

Epsilon's abilities are actually quite... Underwhelming. He cannot transfer hosts like Omega does. He needs the physical chip transferred to change to a new host.  His only real unique feature is the memories.

The only person he can possess as such is his current host. It's not easy for him to do it with an individual that he isn't familiar with, and the initial takeover is difficult if the host isn't distracted. And Epsilon is becoming an expert at doing that to Washington.

As for how strong the control is, it depends on a lot of factors. If circumstances manage to unnerve or startle Epsilon, it can lead to openings to break the control. And as much as he might wish otherwise? His control starts weakening the longer he has it.

I understand that if Epsilon were to end up in another host, that would need permission to possess a character belonging to someone else on the off chance that someone does end up acquiring Epsilon that isn't Washington.

Washington and Epsilon's views of the other Freelancers:

Washington and Epsilon have a rather complicated viewpoint of the others at Project Freelancer where he's from.  For the most part, before Epsilon, Washington wasn't exactly a social person, and the project was competitive.  His fellow agents were competition.  He may have socialized a little, but it was awkward at best.

Once Epsilon was implanted, things changed in various ways, as Epsilon started coloring his views and affecting things.  For a start, the AI hates and despises the Director and those running Project Freelancer, though he is a genius at hiding his feelings from those individuals for his own safety.

As for views of the other agents?  The unpaired agents were viewed by Epsilon with a fair amount of suspicion.  And of the paired ones, most of them are filed cautiously under potential allies. 

Agent Texas and Omega are one of the exceptions.  The pair are viewed with reservations and wariness as the pair are highly unpredictable and dangerous.  Though Epsilon has a fascination with Texas that was probably noticeable, even though he tried to hide it.  And the other two had never indicated noticing it.

Another is Delta and his host, though they don't know them as well as they might like.  The pair are trustworthy, and considered fairly safe, compared to others.

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