As Cadets Sixth Class (seventh-grade students), all incoming cadets are placed together in a 'training cadre' - a grouping of students that would remain together for classes and other activities throughout their six years in the First Academy. Under the guidance of Professor Richard Hiram Blumenberg (and initially as Phase One of 'Project Alliance'), the ten cadets were designated Training Cadre 2996, and as such, completed the First Academy and went together into the Elite Academy; even though they were in different majors, they stayed together as a group. Inspired by Professor Blumenberg (as well as comics, television shows, and the stories of the P.O.G.O. teams of DELPHI), the cadets of T.C. 2996 used free time, and liberty periods (weekends off and vacation periods during holidays) to practice and train together, creating their own strategies and maneuvers unique to themselves. (Sherrie Klein was meant to be a member of the cadre, but her place was taken by Julia Carlyle; as Julia's roommate through the entire length of their education at both academies, Sherrie has remained close with all of the cadre members and provides tech and support for them, and is considered as an unofficial member of the group.)
They refer to themselves as 'The Alliance' because of the philosophy that while they come from different backgrounds, they have similar interests (in this case, being superheroes) - which is what any successful alliance is made of... those who have similar interests. Although they are not truly aware of it yet, The Alliance is the single most powerful and well-trained group of cadets currently enrolled at the Academy.
The members of The Alliance have effectively formed a nakama; many observers refer to them as basically being more or less a family grouping (to the point that they have been referred to collectively as 'Blumenberg's litter of puppies' - a reference to how the Professor instilled a sense of togetherness in the cadets, as well as (unintentionally) an unwavering sense of loyalty to him.) One of the many things that the cadets do together is, after visiting with family or attending summer studies, take up residence at Zoey Robertson's family home in California for the two weeks before classes resume at USAES - a tradition they have had since their third year in the Academy.
In the aftermath of the virtual reality battle simulation where The Alliance battled the members of the Legion of Lawndale Heroes, their showing (calculated as a 'technical stalemate' by USAES officials) led to a surge of USAES cadets forming similar groups, as well as other official training cadres beginning similar training procedures. The Alliance, as well as each cadet in the cadre, has several information-rich entries available for view on the USAES Academy Wiki, as well as a couple of unofficial web sites on the USAES Intranet set up by fellow cadets.
Alliance special training
Because of the special training procedures they trained in under the tutelage of Professor Blumenberg, the members of The Alliance all have a number of special skills and capabilities not enjoyed by the grand majority of young metahumans who have matriculated at USAES (until the Metahuman Special Operations metahuman studies track was created, using the training materials created by the Professor). Among those skills:
- All Alliance members have been trained to resist high-power/median-duration telepathic scans through use of 'negative data feedback' (resisting the pain and stress while concentrating on events/images and concepts that the telepath scanning will find repulsive, such as continuous bowel movements).
- Each female Alliance member has been psi/sleep-taught Arabic, while each male member of the Alliance has been psi/sleep-taught Spanish; each can speak and read those as a second language. (Any member who already has these languages will be assigned a different language.)
- All Alliance members have been extensively trained in 'virtual reality' simulations; as a result, Alliance members are less subject to the disorienting mental effects of reality-altering experiences, and are more resistant to the physical side-effects of being active in 'virtual reality' chambers. A side-effect of this training provides each member with a slight resistance to the effects of psychotropic substances and powers that act upon a person's perception of reality.
- All Alliance members have been psi/sleep-taught the basic knowledge of piloting light aircraft (light airplanes and helicopters). Those who are not fully-trained pilots (like Kelly and David Allen) can safely take off, keep a plane/helicopter aloft and land, but not much else; this skill can be augmented through experience and further standard flight training.
- All Alliance members have been given advanced multi-environment survival training (forest, arctic, desert, tropical, mountain, aquatic, subterranean and urban phases) during their first and second years in the Elite Academy. This training included (during the urban and mountain phases) SERE training to resist physical/emotional abuse.
- All Alliance members receive First Aid training equal to the training required for American Red Cross First Aid certification.
- All Alliance members have been psi/sleep-taught basic fluency in shorthand, and are required to take a fluency test each semester to maintain those skills. They receive psi/sleep-training upgrades to remain current in their skills, and retake the actual Alliance medical training yearly.
- All Alliance members have been psi/sleep-taught to operate and repair shortwave and Low probability of intercept (LPI)/ Low probability of recognition (LPR) radio equipment for communication purposes. Each member undergoes a twelve-hour refresher course in operations and repair each semester to maintain those skills.
- All 'Alliance' members have been psi-sleep taught the martial arts of Kali and Brazilian Jujitsu, in order to provide them with an effective set of hand-to-hand fighting skills. They receive annual mental implantation in order to keep those skills from degrading and to receive skill updates.
'The Lynchpin Factor'
In the planned LLH 'Mini' Ten Little Secrets, it is revealed that each member of The Alliance, during the Summer of Light they went through at the start of their time as Cadets Second Year, they were all subjected to an ultra-secret power augmentation procedure that gave each of them an as-yet unrevealed 'extra' metahuman ability. That ability was then suppressed totally from their physical selves, yet in the advanced sleep-training they received, each cadet was given subconscious training in the use of that ability (with actual hands-on training with those powers in VR sessions, where special systems were used to allow the cadets to unknowingly divide their consciousness, and that secondary part was the beneficiary of that power and training.
This procedure was conceived (by Russell Stark himself) as a last-ditch fail-safe for each cadet in case of extreme threats that were specifically trained/equipped to deal with their specific known abilities and capabilities. None of the suppressed abilities are known; as the events of LLH 13:3 showed (when Julia Carlyle was scanned by Jodie Landon with a device capable of detecting and identifying powers, her suppressed ability was not detected) the procedure used also provides a quantum-level suppression of the abilities they were gifted with which includes extraordinarily high levels of resistance to powers and devices capable of detecting powers.
The secondary, suppressed section of their consciousness has been configured to reveal itself and reintegrate with each cadet's full consciousness (along with knowledge of/ability to use the new ability) in a case of perceived mortal danger and the knowledge that danger directly affects them, upon their twenty-fifth birthday, or upon hearing the term 'Lynchpin', followed by a fourteen-digit number (each cadet has a specific numerical activation code). It has been shown that only Russell Stark, Dawn Hall and Professor Blumenberg have the Alliance numerical activation codes, and that all of the USAES personnel involved in the power-implantation process have had their memories altered to forget the events/that the cadets have extra powers.
Despite this, the 'extra' metahuman abilities each has received are actually starting to manifest in some of the cadets. In the LLH 'Mini' Clarity, Julia Carlyle seemingly demonstrated a possible telepathic ability (although it may have just been that she read Elsie Sloane's lips as the latter sat in her car).
Each member wears a black jacket, made from unstable molecules and a very thin lining of Salazarium micro-mesh through a special process that allows the materials to form a unique bond which allows both materials to exhibit its special properties in conjunction with each other with surrendering its own properties. (For example, the jackets fit each member perfectly, but still retain the invulnerability to penetration afforded by Salazarium.) Each member has a flag on the right arm that denotes his/her country of origin (Most members are American, but Carolyn Field is Canadian and Fabian Nogura is Japanese-American; his mother is American). The Salazarium lining provides limited resistance to mystical powers and effects, protection from edged and projectile weapons (but not from impact effects) as well as allowing the wearer to fly at any speed and height that he/she can physically tolerate, while the unstable molecules allow for a perfect fit to the wearer, and use of any of his/her powers without harm to the garment. In addition, each jacket has a 'micro-environmental field emitter', which is powered by the wearer's own metahuman abilities and allows the wearer to exist in hazardous or uninhabitable environments (underwater, in hard vacuum, in gas- or flame-filed areas, etc.) for an indefinite period, as well as a secure-com microceiver which allows the wearer to communicate with other Alliance members, or search frequencies and communicate with other sources. The jackets are also highly resistant to staining and corrosion, will not tear, and are machine-washable and fade-resistant. The jackets were created by Sherrie Klein (also known as K.M. Sherrie).
The jackets also have the unofficial symbol of The Alliance on the left breast. The symbol is thirteen stars (representing the thirteen American Colonies before the formation of the United States, as well as all metahuman cadets who have gone through the Academy before the public acknowledgment of their existence), with ten of those stars white (to represent the members of The Alliance themselves, as new to the world of metahuman operations). The stars at the four and eight o'clock positions are simply tracings of stars, to represent those metahumans who have graduated from USAES to serve the United States of America without the citizens being aware of their service, and a gold star at the twelve o'clock position, to represent the cadets who have died in training while at USAES.
The members of The Alliance are:
- Jeffrey Brace/'Windburn' (moves at near-light speeds; can generate a trail of solid, ultra-intense flame behind him)
- Julia Carlyle/'Star Angel', later 'Archangel' (Deputy Leader - possesses functional wings and the ability to fly at up to trans-light speeds; possesses a Class Five healing ability; has a telelocative 'tracking ability'; has sonic powers that can work even in space or underwater)
- David Allen Farrington/'Esper Prime' - (possesses high-level psionic powers; has a limited connection with the Phoenix Force)
- Carolyn Field/'Shocklash' - (possesses electrical powers; can manifest 'whips' of solid electricity from behind her wrists that can slice through almost any form of matter, anti-matter or energy)
- Maryann Lyter/'Tempest' - (possesses Kryptonian-level/form abilities, but can only use one at a time. Also possesses 'True Vision'.)
- Lindy Lomard/'Backtrack' - (possesses a multi-purpose defensive forcefield that can direct attacks in any direction Lindy wants, allows her 'stealth' and invisibility, and allows her to fly at hyper-speeds. Can also create independently-sustaining defensive fields for a number of uses.)
- Fabian Nogura/'Typhoon' - (possesses weather-control abilities and can 'walk on air'.)
- Zoey Robertson/'Victory' - (Possesses the genetic ability to create matter/energy javelins of various effects; also has limited invulnerability to harm, super-vision, a low-level 'combat-sense', and various abilities derived from training at the Wind Ninja Academy in California. Owner of the 'Victory' battlesuit', which allows her to utilize Power Ranger-inspired technology for aquatic operations and tactical uses.)
- Kelly Springer/'Monolith' - (possesses vast superhuman strength, speed, invulnerability and the ability to fly; all of her abilities are above standard Kryptonian levels]. Also possesses the ability to grow up to 1000 feet in height.)
- Rafael Vargas/'Fortune' - (possesses the ability to actively control probabilities and give himself or others 'good luck' or 'bad luck'; can also cause extremely unlikely events to occur; possesses limited precognitive powers.)