The Second Dark Age, and the following Second Renaissance came after the no holds barred unlimited warfare of the Resource Wars. Such destruction had not been seen since the Second World War, with its nuclear exchanges and firebombed cities, and such death hadn't been seen since the Black Death. The world was weary of wide scale, economy and infrastructure destroying wars, and physical resources as mundane as iron were poor supply. There was no launching of new fleets of warships, no columns of armored vehicles, no parades of tanks or vast armies of conscripted soldiers.
Sadly, it remained that mankind retained the need, the imperative, for war. Thus it was that the armored battlesuit replaced the tank, and despite treaties to the contrary, genetic engineering initiatives were pushed to create super soldiers.
Phase I - Dynamo Atlas
The Dynamo Atlas Project was simple, creating what were deemed 'Human Titans'. A Titan would be seven or more feet in height and likely in excess of 200 kg. There were humans already of this size, but they suffered from a variety of medical issues. Creating the size was the easy part, compensating for it was the bulk of the program.
Muscular Augmentation - Dynamo Atlas pioneered the creation of organic myomer, or the biological counterpart to the synthetic materials used in the articulation of autons, mecha, and other humanoid machinery. While the obvious applications of the enhanced muscle tissue was in the arms, legs and other locomotive functions, it was most importantly used in the cardiovascular system, allowing the heart and arteries to supply the greater than normal mass of muscle and other organs. Titans were larger than human normal, but even with their enhanced size, they were still stronger than would seem reasonable.
Skeletal Reinforcement - Osteosynthesis was also pioneered by the Dynamo Atlas program. Prior to the program, strength could only be augmented to the limits of human bone, and when that was insufficient, there was surgical bone replacement (with artificial materials) or skeletal reinforcement, both of which were invasive surgical procedures. These procedures were also expensive, had long recovery times, and suffered from the limitation of even a minor break required surgery to repair. Osteosynthsis was a process that used cultured osteoblasts, or the bone equivalent of STEM cells that were modified. These osteoblasts combined with a special tailored diet resulted in reinforced bones that were organic, self repairing, and much stronger than normal bone.
Thick Skin - The Armidermis was developed as a basic genetic modification of the mesodermis, the middle layer of skin, causing it to become much thicker, and woven through with a fibrous collagen like protein. The armidermis developed by Dynamo Atlas provided decent protection against hand to hand combat as well as being resistant to basic injury and accident. The armidermis, like osteosynthesis, replaced invasive procedures were armor pieces would be surgically inserted under the skin.
Organic myomer, Osteosynthesis, and armidermis are now routine augmentations available to security forces, military contractors, mercenaries, and on the black market. The companies that license or stole the technology have made a good deal of money on these technologies through a variety of outlets ranging from the altruistic (regrowing lost limbs for war orphans and veterans) to the morally bankrupt (creating genocidal ubermen).
Classified Augmentation - The non-commercial specifics of Dynamo Atlas likely include aggression augmentation, pain suppression, and other augmentations to make the Titans created by the program into better, more ruthless and relentless killing and destroying monsters.
Phase II - Military Applications
The downfalls of the equipment of the new age of warfare was that it is complicated and expensive, often more so than the soldiers operating it. This is something that would handicap the development of mecha for generations. Soldiers were cheaper, but while it took a month to built a battle suit, it took 18 years to raise a soldier. Cloning technology and autons were attempted and the clone soldiers were not spectacular, and still took five years to raise, and autons proved poor at actual combat. What was needed were elite soldiers, able to use the weapons and fight like battle suits, but were cheaper and better at fighting in small engagements.
The Titan was intended to carry a battle suit firearm as his (or her) weapon. If forced to use normal human scale weapons, the Titan could dual wield squad assault weapons, or fire a rifle in each hand for greater firepower. Titans were also expected to use melee weapons, and engage in shock and awe operations to demoralize their foes.
BMOT - Big Man on Team, the Titan was the squad support, or heavy. In this role, the Titan would support a normal squad of non-armored infantry by carrying some variety of BFG. Rotary guns, plasma cannons, recoilless battle cannons, and mag rifles were common choices. The BMOT tactic was used early in operations as the initial number of Dynamo Atlas Titans was low.
Tank Squad - A fearsome tactic used latter and in the heyday of the Titans was the Tank Squad. Composed entirely of Titans, a tank squad would be armed with heavy weaponry, and clad in armored suits. A tank squad was more flexible, more aggressive, and required less support than a battle armor squad, and was not vulnerable to computer hacking, and so long as the Titans had food and ammo they could keep fighting.
Goliath - citing back to the legend of David and Goliath, Titans would be employed in small numbers to draw out attacks from indigenous populations, allowing them to be identified and taken out. Rather than actually being sent to kill a certain person, it was generally orchestrated that a Titan would do something to smoke them out. This tactic would in the long run backfire against the Titans and the Dynamo Atlas program as this relatively rare, and frequently barbaric practice became the face of the program.
Phase III - Operations
A product of the Atlantic Federation, the Titans saw action in Central and South America, Africa, and Across Europe. They saw limited action in the Pacific hemisphere. The Titans might have initially been designed as a cost cutting alternative to battle suits, they proved that in adverse conditions, such as wet jungles and swamps, they were superior to the fighting machines. The Titans most prominent battles were waged across Central America, where they would vanish into the jungle to wage wars of attrition against Latin League forces. These covert operations, aka Rambo Ops, caused widespread destruction on the ground, and demoralized Latin ground forces. While valuable to the Federation, these soldiers were overlooked and forgotten, as most of the credit for the victories in that theater were given to the Federation Aerospace Force and it's flying warships and aerospace fighters.
In Africa and Europe, both divided between multiple powers, Titans were used in traditional military roles, but made their infamous marks as counter-insurgency fighters. In the conflicts across North Africa, a wasteland unwanted and at the same time contested between wasteland groups, the Federation, the Alliance, and the SAUR, Titans lived in an almost ideal environment of constant war, violence, and chaos.
Containment Specialists - One of the overlooked roles the Titans carried out was responding to Dimensional Fatigue Events. On multiple occasions, Titans used their strength and combat prowess to protect others during bug infestations, alien contamination, and other actively hostile encounters. Few of these were known as the Titans in question typically didn't survive the event, but their sacrifices allowed many others to survive.
The Expendables - Titans retained free rights, and having completed their initial contracts with the military, they were free to search employ with Security companies, mercenary outfits, or general freelance work. The military allowed this as it left them the leeway to upgrade and replace soldiers as new improvements were made, rather than running the existing soldiers until they retired from service or were killed in action. The mercenaries, or Expendables, were used by the same military planners to carry out missions that were deemed to dangerous, morally questionable, or would have been compromising for traditional military forces to carry out
Phase IV - Notable Titans
Sven Trollsmorder (alias) - originally a Federation heavy weapons operator, Sven would eventually defect from the Federation to the Kingdom of Scandinavia where he would work as a freelance mercenary. He became a readily identifiable figure with his huge size and stabilized battle cannon. The large 40mm mag rifle was capable of taking out battle armor, destroying combat vehicles and even shooting down low flying aircraft. Trollsmorder is now much older and has started a primitive society organization on one of the the many islands that are part of the Kingdoms. He still rarely does contract work, but mostly lives as a viking lord in seclusion from the world, with a harem of wives and small community of retired veterans, their families, and others who wish to retire from the military life, but require a home much more harsh and demanding than that found in the cities.
Sgt. Todd Church - The epitome of the Federation Supersoldier, Church is heavily decorated and scarred from his tours of duty on four continents and three worlds. He is a large man, with a stony demeanor and is seldom spoken. Church is a hero of the Federation and on occasion is called up from retirement to show the might and cunning once deployed by the Federation, and how they continually trumpet on to bigger and better things. Church has severe PTSD issues, and has broken orders several times, displaying a humane streak not commonly seen in the Titan program.
Lt. Robert Billingslea, the Cannibal - When a titan is mentioned, Billingslea is the one that most often comes to mind. He was exceptionally large even for a titan and easily distinguished from the others for his prominent chin, bald head and missing eye. Frequently called the Cannibal, Billingslea specialized in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism and would terrorize civilian populations to force or draw their fighters out, where he would kill them. He would always keep several alive for torture, public demonstrations, and for eating. He would make a show out of decapitating a prisoner, crushing their skull in his hands and then squeezing the mess of blood and brains into his mouth. He was very good at his job, and enjoyed it to excess.
Sgt. Betty Rien - While the majority of Titans were male, there were a decent number of female titans. Rien was a massive woman (who was not massively endowed as many would imagine) who specialized in demolitions. Hailing from French Canada, Rien saw extensive action and was decorated for her handiwork in dropping bridges, destroying transit junctions, and collapsing buildings across South America and Africa. Rien declined honorary citizenship from New Themyscira as she claimed she was Canadienne first, and wasn't interested in anything as politicized as such.
Anathema - A freelance Titan on par with Billingslea the Cannibal. Anathema combines terror tactics with brutal hand to hand fighting, and he demonstrates exceptional skill in close quarters. The Titan known as Anathema has destroyed battle suits, autons, and combat robots with his bare hands. He uses a minimalist type of armor, a helmet, reinforced gauntlets, and a few other minor pieces that don't weigh him down. One thing that sets Anathema apart from other Titans is that he wears a Juice Box that pushes his physical abilities to their very peak, and sometimes beyond. Under the influence of combat drugs and aggro-juice, Anathema becomes a nigh unstoppable killing mayhem machine.
Phase V - Titanomachty
The Titan concept and Titan supersoldiers are now considered obsolete technology. The demise of the Titan, and the end of Dynamo Atlas were inevitable. The world of the Cosmic Era is built around enclosed spaces, efficiency, and homogeneity. A Titan stands head and shoulders above most people, and they are giants in a world built for normal sized people. Their effectiveness in combat was proven reliably, but it was in the downtime and the offtime that they clashed with society, from it's expectations to it's architecture. Titans simply didn't fit.
This became more and more obvious as Titans eventually started retiring and phasing out of military service. There was little room for Titans in the private sector, and many of those retirees carried with them the side effects of war, the PTSD and reflexive training. They were engineered to fight, survive and kill. Those skills become a hindrance after military service. The news feeds were routinely being filled with retired Titans going berzerk, or being attacked by police forces because they were suspected of about anything, since they were different.
Public opinion about Titans was swayed by military feeds, viewing the absolute barbarity of Titans working anti-insurgencies, and demonstrating their full physical capability. Instead of heroes, Titans were increasingly seen as monsters. While there were certainly Titans who were sociopathic, murderers, and cannibals, the rates were comparable to, or lower than that of the general population. They just made better news stories.
The Third Generation - The Titans were the second generation supersoldier, vastly superior to the Human+ first generation, and themselves inferior to the Third Generation. Third Generation supersoldiers, such as those created by Project Werewolf, Project Phoenix, Project Synthesis, and other projects were dramatically stronger than average humans, with faster reflexes and neocortical computers, and other tailored augmentations. They were not as strong as Titans, but they were innocuous, easy to feed and equip, and could use newer more powerful weapons. The Titans carried oversized weapons used by battle suits, the new supersoldiers used smaller, more compact weapons that did the same amount of damage. While no less dangerous that a rogue Titan, these rogue 'Olympians' were much less magnets for media attention.
Economies of scale and the steady advancement of solid state technology also rendered many of the Titan advantages moot. With improved construction techniques and technologies, the cost of manufacturing power armor and battle suits decreased. Skeletrons were also engineered, replacing the much less effective combat auton in the field. Cheaper to build, easier to maintain, easier to arm, the skeletron was able to do most of the things a Titan did, but at less cost, and almost no socialization issues.
Dynamo Atlas ran for almost 50 years, and the Titan supersoldiers were a mainline military asset across the globe and solar system for just shy of a century. Rather than a failed project, the Titans were an impressive success and demonstrated the value of the Supersoldier and cemented the fact that every nation and power that could develop supersoldiers would continue to do so, regardless of their participation in the Tycho Conventions.
Additional Ideas (3)
Project Omega Supreme:
There was a government philosophy that was very popular during the Petroleum Age, If it didn't work you didn't do enough. This typically was applied to budgetary concerns and social projects, if such a project failed, it was not because the idea or concept was flawed, it was that not enough money was spent, and not enough was changed to make it work. This mentality, although muted, remains in the Cosmic Era. During the waning days of the Dynamo Atlas Project a notion took hold that the program had failed because the Titan archetype wasn't big enough, wasn't Titan enough.
The Omega Supreme project was a disaster as it took human beings to the limit of how big it could be. The few Omega Titans engineered were truly massive, standing in excess of twenty and even thirty feet in height and weighing several tons. The Omega Titans were short lived and miserable, far from the organic mecha that the backers of the project expected. There are simply limits to how much weight organic bone mass can support, and given the size and shape of their bodies, the Omegas had horrible circulation and blood pressure problems, constant joint and bone pain, and exhaustion from constantly being hungry.
Scientists and biologists were confused as to why their projects were failing, but kaiju, or teratomorphs, were organic in nature but easily dwarfed the largest Omega. Not only were they bigger, they were faster, stronger, some could fly where Omegas could barely walk. research would eventually prove that without fail, all teratomorphs were parapsychic in nature and they can only exist by constant and involuntary use of said powers. Before there can be a successful Omega Titan, the engineers an bioengineers will have to find a way to make a rare and powerful ability found only in a few individuals, something that can be reliably reproduced, and then something that requires as much active concentration as breathing or the heart beating.
A variation of the Dynamo Atlas initiative, the Ymir Project was run by the Kingdom of Scandinavia and was only superficially different from the Federation's core project. The Titans created by Ymir were biologically adapted to survive in the extreme conditions found in the Kingdom. They were engineered to be resistant to cold, adapted to hand long periods of exposure, and subsist on a minimal diet for moderate periods of time. The Ymir Titans quickly styled themselves as the Frost Giants of Norse myth and are likely the most successful of all the Titan programs. The so called Frost Giants are protectors of the Kindgom, along with genetically engineered warhounds that serve them.
There are two reasons for the success of Ymir, the attitude of the Scandinavian people, and the operational set up for the Frost Giants. The Scandinavians have long embraced their Norse Viking history, something that has kept the Kingdom strong, and from being assimilated by either the Federation or the Alliance. That there are titans, accustomed to the cold, defending their homeland with thunder hammers and great beasts suits the them. The other side is that the Frost Giants live apart from the common populace, they do not integrate, they do not mingle or socialize. The Frost Giants keep their own company, and live in their own small communities.
So when a titan clad in armor and furs shows up swinging a hammer that shatters armor and splatters the carapaces of cosmic horrors, and calls himself Thor, everyone cheers. Because effing Thor man!
Spearheaded by Nippon and supported by New Themyscira, Nova was a short lived black ops project that combined the Federation's Dynamo Atlas technology with the parapsychic and psychotronic technologies being developed in the respective nations. A small number of Nova Titans were created, all female, and almost all developed parapsychic abilities to varying extents. The issue manifested that given the conceptual technologies being used, and a certain lack of oversight and common sense, the Nova Titans were almost uncontrollable, and became walking dimensional fatigue events.
A major covert containment effort was made and most of the Nova Titans were destroyed. Two survived and have since gone into hiding. Genesis was an ethnicity free humanoid female with white, lavender, and clear skin, but mutated from constant parapsychic burn (a state of excess power use/uncontrolled power use) and grew a number of tentacles and has since lost most of her humanoid shape. Rei is an idealized Anglo-Nipponese woman with pale complexion, white hair, red eyes, and wings. She has manifested abilities and an intelligence that can only be described as passionless and alien. Genesis is currently in a private facility where she voluntarily allowed herself to be confined into a suit of armor specifically made to contain her while she goes through a parapsychically fueled metamorphosis... or dies. Rie has not been encountered since disabling an Alliance frigate in Lunar orbit and then departing on a trajectory leaving the orbital plane of the solar system.