Although many disparate elements of Project 3002 have been explained, what were the conspirators trying to achieve? What exactly were they building on Mars? What did it do?
This is a concise explanation of Project 3002, focusing on why it was made and what it did, not how it was made.
There were several steps involved in founding the project.
- Bioplague. This disease from outer space proved that a biological organism can make practical use of quantum communication.
- Technological advancement, specifically in cybernetics, computing, cloning and genetics.
- Wealth. Individuals with so much wealth, in a global economy their decisions know no boundaries or limitations.
- Gnosis. The growing realisation that a man can transcend their own existence and it's not just bullshit spouted by bald-headed freaks in robes.
The signatories' mutual distrust and general paranoia meant that an off-world site was the only site they could agree to, being equally inaccessible to them all. Outwardly it was in the best interests of public safety that they agreed to site the Project on Mars. (Mars was also outside easy reach of the EC.)
Two working devices were eventually built, the first being a proof of concept, the second being a fully featured device.
The first device was shipped to Earth were it was to be tested by the signatories. Saburo Arasaka was first in line, but it was intercepted by EC black ops and had to be destroyed before it could ever be tested. The second device was installed on Mars and used a total body cyberform interface. The operator's entire body had to be intricately vivisected, wafer-sliced and wired into a vast array of subsystems.
Most of the signatories did not know the exact capabilities of second device, but it was the ultimate goal of Project 3002 to build a "god machine".
PROOF OF CONCEPT
The first, proof of concept device would enable the operator to co-habit another person's mind, experiencing exactly what they experience in every detail, like a hi-res braindance, but also hear their thoughts and feel their emotions. Hosts were limited to either people the operator knew very well or was touching whilst interfaced. The operator could then jump to anyone the host touched or knew very well.
The operator of the second device, the god machine, would be able to possess another person entirely. The aim wasn't to live forever as such (this could effectively be achieved through eidos transfer into a clone) nor to live as someone else (a relatively simple false identity, bodysculpt and DNA remapping), but to be anyone at any time, having complete access to their mind and body as needed without limitation.
Unknown to the rest of the signatories, however, Howard Merrill, the mastermind behind Project 3002 had grander plans. He had already slipped control out of the hands of the signatories and pushed the project far beyond what anyone could have imagined.
With the god machine's final design, the operator did not need to jump between persons, the operator could sense all thoughts of all human beings simultaneously (some 10% were predicted to be "immune") and guide their actions. The operator could shift forwards and backwards in time (though not earlier than the device existed), free reign within the one millennium lifespan of the device, assuming it wasn't extended at some point in the future.
This was not the usual blind self-interest of a megacorp. This was one man's attempt to make a difference with his life, the biggest difference ever imagined, to shape the future of the human race, to unify it with a guiding hand and forge a greater destiny for the planet. Merrill believed the planet and the human race was doomed unless a real saviour could be found, and he might have been right. His choice for humanity's saviour was not himself -- he wished to die naturally -- but a young, idealistic Swiss, Paco Hanser.
In the event, it was Entropy who entered the god machine and the human race did not gain a saviour but a defender.
*Incidentally the number "3002" was taken from the Cyberpunk 188.8.131.52. product code, CP3002.