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The Jenova Project was a series of experiments performed before the beginning of Final Fantasy VII. It was orchestrated by the Shinra Electric Power Company in an attempt to make a human hybrid with the alien creature Jenova, whom Shinra had mistakenly believed to be an Ancient. Dozens, perhaps hundreds of test subjects were used in the Project, but only a select few could be considered successful hybrids. Professor Hojo along with Shinra scientist Lucrecia Crescent, and his colleagues Professor Gast and Dr. Hollander were the ones most responsible for the experiments. Those born from the Project include Sephiroth, Genesis Rhapsodos, and Angeal Hewley.

Origins

Jenova, within her casing for study.

Many years before the beginning of Final Fantasy VII, Shinra, once a lowly weapons manufacturer, had discovered Mako energy. Since the power supply was so efficient, Shinra soon grew to become the dominant political, economic, and military force on the the Planet. However, the company was constantly searching for more efficient means of acquiring Mako other than the costly method of using Mako Reactors. The tale of Ancients, a race with the special ability to talk directly to the Planet and control the Lifestream, appealed to Shinra's greed. So they sent out their best scientists to hunt the planet in search for whatever fossilized remains of the Ancients might still exist.

Professor Gast was the one to find the frozen remains of Jenova inside the Northern Crater. Gast mistakenly thought Jenova to be the Cetra for whom he was searching, and so he began to study and experiment on her. From these first observations the Jenova Experiment was born. Many of the finest scientists and researchers within Shinra's employ began to work to create a half-man half-Cetra being. They had no idea what they were making were horrible half-alien creatures. Gast would leave the Project when he discovered from his meetings with Ifalna, a true Cetra, that Jenova was no Ancient, but instead a monster.

After Gast left, the Project was divided into two separate sub-Projects. Both worked to the same goal, but with different leaders and different methods. They were Project S and Project G.

Project G

Angeal Hewley, the ultimate product of Project G.

Project G's true name is Project Gillian for the main test subject, Gillian Hewley. The "G" is often mistaken to stand for "Project Genesis" by many players and characters in Crisis Core, including Sephiroth, for Genesis was the first result of the Project to expose himself. The Project was run by Dr. Hollander, who was a rival to Hojo, the leader of the competing Project S. Both were sure that their experiments would be the ones to succeed, and that their respective results were the superior. However, Project G was not nearly as well-supported by Shinra, and was deemed a failure by the time its offspring were children. Hollander still believed in his version of the Jenova Project nevertheless.

Hollander's plan was to inject Gillian with Jenova Cells. However, Gillian herself was not to be the ultimate result of Project G. Rather, those who would be later injected with Gillian's cells would hold the Jenova traits. Genesis Rhapsodos was one of the more successful creations of this experiment. His best friend, Angeal Hewley, Gillian's son was exposed to Gillian's cells while in his mother's womb. Both grew up in Banora Village with little signs of mutation. Later, they would join SOLDIER.

Genesis Rhapsodos, the seemingly failed product of Project G.

Though they seemed to be normal humans, eventually the effects of Project G began to manifest. Genesis, who was only injected with Gillian's cells began to degrade slowly, requiring S Cells of Project S to survive. It was clear that he was a failure. Angeal, who was born directly from Gillian's cells would not degrade as fast was considered by Hollander to be the perfect result of his experiment.

Both Angeal and Genesis had the power to create Copies of themselves similar to Jenova's power. These were not perfect Copies, rather mindless slaves born from exposure to Angeal and Genesis's genes. While in Crisis Core, Genesis only made human copies, Angeal's copies came in the form of monsters and one human in the form of Lazard. Both also sprouted a single angel wing on their shoulder, Genesis's being black, and Angeal's white. Though there was only a single wing, it could be used for flight.

However, the main difference between Angeal and Genesis was that Angeal had expanded abilities. Angeal's genetic structure held Jenova's power of a two-way conduit. He could make copies and also take in the abilities of monsters. Not wanting to remain a monster, Angeal absorbed the powers of several to become Angeal Penance, which would force Zack Fair to end his life.

Even though Angeal was the great success of Project G, his later Copies began to show the same signs of degradation that Genesis had. Lazard Deusericus clearly showed great degradation at the end of Crisis Core, and eventually died along with the last Angeal copy.

Genesis managed to cure himself of his degradation at the end of Crisis Core, which was the result of the "Gift of the Goddess" he spoke of so often. His genetic make-up was used to create the Tsviets of Dirge Of Cerberus. It appears that Genesis may be the last surviving product of Project G.

Project S

Sephiroth, the ultimate product of Project S.

Project S, obviously a code word for Project Sephiroth, was the rival and arguably more successful effort by Professor Hojo to create his own Jenova hybrid. This effort seems to have had more support by Shinra at large. The experiment was carried out at the Shinra Mansion in Nibelheim.

Hojo's methods were more direct. Instead of first giving the Jenova Cells to a person like Gillian, Hojo directly injected her cells into a human fetus in its mother's womb. That fetus was Sephiroth, Hojo's very own son. Lucrecia Crescent, a scientist also working in the Mansion on her own project would carry Sephiroth and his Jenova genes to term. During her pregnancy, Lucrecia began to have visions of just what her child would do when born. Even so, she delivered Sephiroth.

Sephiroth was notable for his well-above average physical abilities, and would come to be of great use for Shinra as their ultimate SOLDIER. SOLDIER was a byproduct of Project S, created by simplified process of Sephiroth's birth. Sound men of perfect mind and body were injected with Mako and Jenova Cells to boost their physical abilities to superhuman. Sephiroth's fighting in the war in Wutai would present Sephiroth as a hero to the entire world, and inspire many youths to join SOLDIER. However, Sephiroth would eventually go insane after learning of his origins.

Whatever abilities Sephiroth had thanks to Project S are difficult to determine. Sephiroth himself possessed above-average strength and proficiency with magic due to extensive mastery of Materia, although it is unclear how much of this is a result of Project S and how much is a result of his training as a SOLDIER. Shortly after going insane, Sephiroth joined with his "mother" Jenova inside the Lifestream. With his greater will, Sephiroth took control of Jenova and all her abilities. Whether or not this strength to control Jenova was a side-effect of his birth is unknown. All later abilities, including his winged form seen in Safer∙Sephiroth may have been taken from Jenova, or may have been due to the Lifestream Sephiroth absorbed while regenerating his body in the Northern Crater.

A later experiment was Hojo's Jenova Reunion Theory. This time, the survivors of the destruction of Nibelheim were kidnapped and injected with Sephiroth's cells. These people, including Cloud Strife and Zack Fair, would become Sephiroth Clones. These "Clones" were not direct Genetic copies and were created using a similar process as those of SOLDIER, but the civilians of Nibelheim did not have the mental or physical prowess to maintain their mental stability. Thus the Clones but were mindless puppets, similar to the Copies from Project G. Even though they are puppets, Cloud is completely independent of Sephiroth until he is needed. Sephiroth does not degrade, so lacks the power to create Copies himself. It is not known if Zack functioned the same way, as he was long deceased by the time Sephiroth's actions came into fruition during Final Fantasy VII. It is known however, that Zack did not develop a dependency on Sephiroth and survived the degeneration of his mind, leading to him escaping with Cloud and the two of them being branded as "failures" by Hojo as they escaped before they could be tattooed and tracked, and because Zack would not have responded to the reunion call.

Through Sephiroth's influence, the Clones (including Cloud) eventually came to the Northern Crater where they were systematically killed by Sephiroth and their Jenova cells absorbed. Following the death of Sephiroth, his influence and the influence of Jenova in the Lifestream caused the fatal disease known as Geostigma to infect the planet's people in the movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Also in the film, the last remaining pieces of Jenova's body are absorbed by Kadaj in a successful attempt to recreate Sephiroth, but Cloud destroys Sephiroth once again. Thus, Cloud is apparently the last surviving product of Project S. But looking at Sephiroth and Jenova's past resilience, whether or not this is the final end of the ultimate monster created by the Jenova Project remains to be seen.


This article uses material from the "Jenova Project" article on the Final Fantasy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.







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