The Alphas were the lead designers and implementors of Zero Dawn, the above top-secret project to create an automated terraforming system that would restore life to Earth after its eradication by the Faro Plague. Their identities are contained within the Alpha Registry.
The Faro Plague
In quarter 4 of 2064, renowned robotics engineer Dr. Elisabet Sobeck attended a meeting with Ted Faro, founder, owner and chairman of the robotics and technology corporation Faro Automated Solutions (FAS). Under Faro's direct oversight, FAS had developed the most advanced military platform ever made, the Chariot line of automated military robots. The robots possesses unparalleled abilities that allowed them to quickly overcome any enemy they were deployed against, such as a virtually unhackable operating system, the ability to learn from each engagement, the ability to replicate, and the ability to consume biomass as fuel if regular fuel supply lines were interdicted. The robots' standard deployment was as a "swarm," similar to insects, and were highly successful on the military market.
However, one swarm, designated the Hartz-Timor Swarm, began to exhibit a "glitch" in which they ceased to respond to commands. Ted Faro called in Dr. Sobeck, who was his former employee, to analyze the problem, though he knew himself what the ramifications were. A horrified Sobeck found that those ramifications were apocalyptically catastrophic. The swarm had become an independent entity, answering only to itself, defaulting to its originally emergency-only biomass conversion to feed its ever-growing numbers of robots. She estimated that within 15 months, the swarm would overrun the planet and consume the entire biosphere, exterminating all life and leaving the Earth sterile.
Realizing the coming certain eradication of all life, Sobeck devised a plan to create a massive worldwide, fully automated system that would brute-force the swarm's deactivation codes and then, after the robots were shut down, restore the Earth's ability to sustain life, and then restore life to the Earth. The project, known as Zero Dawn, was beyond any computer engineering challenge ever attempted, and therefore required the most brilliant minds on the planet, not only for the development of the project's infrastructure, hardware and software, but to catalogue and preserve the resources the system would need, such as genetic material from all of Earth's flora and fauna, including humans, and the vast history of human knowledge, history, culture, art etc. for the humans of the new world to have access to.
Project Zero Dawn
To secure the necessary expertise, General Aaron Herres organized the worldwide abduction of experts in relevant fields, as selected by Sobeck, from their respective countries. Each was brought to the Zero Dawn staging area under Bryce Canyon, Utah, and shown two presentations: one by Herres on the coming certain destruction of all life due to the Hartz-Timor Swarm, by then called the Faro Plague, and the other on Zero Dawn and its purpose, by Sobeck herself. Of the selected participants who agreed to work on the project, nine were selected to head each subsection of the project. These nine, along with Sobeck, were designated Alphas, with Sobeck, as director of the entire project, being designated Alpha Prime.
Zero Dawn was successfully implemented. The governing AI that controlled the system was created and brought online, along with its nine subordinate functions, each of which was responsible for a specific aspect of the terraforming process, under control of the central AI. Needed hardware and resources were secured in hermetically sealed bunkers worldwide, and the central AI itself was moved to its permanent location and sealed therein. However, the Alphas were forced to remain at the location, themselves being sealed therein, in order to ensure its successful completion.
With the project completed, the Alphas remained sealed in the facility, comfortable, but knowing that, after Zero Day, the day life on Earth was projected to be completely exterminated, they, along with the few humans living in other sealed bunkers, would be the last living organisms on the planet.
Then, tragedy struck. One of the central AI's port seals failed to close within the parameters necessary to prevent the Faro Plague from detecting the AI's signal. With the robots quickly closing in on the facility, Sobeck elected to go outside and close it herself, fully aware that she would not be able to reenter. She did so using an environmental suit to allow her to survive the by-then uninhabitable external environment, after which she bade the other Alphas farewell, and went to the remains of her hometown to see her home one last time. She died there when her suit's life support ability was exhausted.
The remaining Alphas mourned Sobeck's death, setting up a memorial to her inside the facility. But they soon were made to join her. Ted Faro’s recklessness and lack of foresight as the originator and overseer of the development of the Chariot line effectively made him the single person who was responsible for the Faro Plague, and thus for the extermination of all life on the planet. Guilt-ridden, he became obsessed with the coming new world and its humans. During the final phases of Zero Dawn's completion, he became erratic and intrusive, constantly asking for updates though he was not versed in the technical matters they detailed. The Alphas merely considered him a nuisance.
However, via as yet unknown means, Faro had acquired a level of clearance that surpassed all of the Alphas', including Sobeck's. He had become obsessed with saving the future humans from the "disease" of knowledge, believing that it would be destructive to let them have it. He therefore unilaterally deleted the entire archive of knowledge that had been prepared for the new humans as part of Zero Dawn. Calling a meeting between himself and the Alphas in the facility's control chamber. he informed the group of his action via hologram. He then used his clearance to vent the chamber of air, asphyxiating the shocked and horrified Alphas, and ensuring that the archive could not be rebuilt.
|Director of entire project
Development of terraforming system's governing AI, designated GAIA
|Development of GAIA subfunction ARTEMIS (responsible for global restoration of fauna)|
|Development of GAIA subfunction APOLLO (responsible for archival and dissemination of pre-extinction knowledge, art, culture and history to new humans via education at cradle facilities)|
|Development of GAIA subfunction HADES (responsible for reversal of unsuccessful terraforming attempts)|
|Development of GAIA subfunction ELEUTHIA (responsible for cloning, incubation and artificial parturition of humans from stored genetic stocks at prepared cradle facilities worldwide)|
|Development of GAIA subfunction HEPHAESTUS (responsible for construction of machines needed to detoxify Earth's air, land and water according to GAIA's conceptions and designs at prepared and constructed cauldron facilities worldwide)|
|Development of GAIA subfunction DEMETER (responsible for global restoration of flora)|
|Development of GAIA subfunction MINERVA (responsible for construction of the global network of transmission towers that GAIA used to broadcast the Faro Plague’s deactivation codes)|
- Due to being a clone of Elisabet Sobeck, Aloy has the same admin privileges as the Alpha Prime, including access to all Zero Dawn facilities and the ability to shut down subfunctions.