Secret societies are almost rank and file these days, enough so that instead of being spoken of in hushed whispers, they are the stuff of Hollywood movies. Not the sort of movies that are controversial, but the sort that teenagers take their dates to. The secret societies of old have become relics of the media, the chew toys of rabid conspiracy theorists, and the stuff of B-grade action flicks. Perhaps it is fitting that Melpomene was the muse of tragedy.

A Secretless Society

Melpomene's Espers are a secret society that is unique in that among its members there are no secrets. By definition, an esper is a person with some sort of ESP, hence ESPer.

History and Origins

The Espers of Melpomene have not existed for centuries, nor is their past long and convoluted. The first incarnation of the espers was the oddly named Tomato-16 group. Tomato-16 was composed of several CIA and military personnel and 6 remote viewer para-psychics. As part of Project Omega, Tomato-16 and an unknown number of other para-psychic cells fed information to the Central Intelligence Agency. This information ranged from the design specifications of the Soviet Typhoon class ballistic missile submarine, to the identification of double agents in the agency, to the operation of remote viewers and para-psychics operating behind the Iron Curtain.

The leader of Tomato-16 was Lt. Warren Chatfield of Des Moines, Iowa. An army officer, he worked as both a viewer and as a military liaison for the CIA. Other notable members included Lorna Weatherby, a house wife from LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and Zachary Haslam, a part time mechanic and gas station attendant. Weatherby gained recognition in Project Omega for subverting Soviet spies operating in Venezuela, while Haslam delivered a series of 13 paintings that uncovered 13 moles, spies, and double agents working inside the CIA, including Project Omega handler.

Eventually the tone of the Cold War changed, and the government started to move away from the successful Omega Project, instead wanting to focus its efforts and resources into technology and economic warfare. Eventually Omega was ended, its files were officially classified at the top level of secrecy. This was not to hide the power and effectiveness of the project, but rather to hide the fact that the CIA had for a number of years operated on a para-psychic level. James Bond wasn't fighting spies and stealing secrets, it was very regular people who had a supposed gift.

You'll never find one of the Espers, fool. They are all psychics, real psychics. They will hear you coming, they will hear you thinking about them, and then they will move. You wont find them. If they are interested, they might come find you. There is nothing that says you will remember this meeting. Being psychics, I am sure they can alter your memories, change your mind, plant things deep down that won't come up until it is too late for you to do anything about it. How do I know this? Because one of them came and spoke to me, told me that you would be coming to find them. I am supposed to tell you that before you travel too far down this round to ask yourself if you haven't already found what you are looking for?

Plausible Deniability

Several investigations were held, each with the real intent of disbanding the organization and discrediting it. The men in charge of the investigation were the sort who thought the money spent on the project would have been better spent on bombs, new fighter planes, and improved nuclear weapons. But, seeing as Tomato-16 was composed of real psychics none were surprised by this turn of events. The hearings became spectacles that the government and investigators wanted nothing more than to forget. And it was that that happened, Tomato-16 was classified and forgotten, and the Omega project became a plaything for conspiracy theorists and crackpots. The Espers dispersed back to their homes, back to their civilian lives. Things would have been quite fine, but all of their pensions and benefits from years of government service were suddenly gone, all of their work and involvement was erased.

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