Programme Pelagique

From Acw


The Programme Pelagique is the French underwater colonisation effort (literally Deep-sea Program). Formalised in 1967 by President Jacques-Yves Cousteau, it has driven four centuries of gradual economic, scientific and territorial expansion in the Seventh Republic.

Notable Achievements

French Algeria

Although it predates the phrase "Programme Pelagique" by 4 years, the 1963 negotiated surrender of the Algerian FLN (National Liberation Front), under Ahmed Ben Bella is generally held up as a key example of the military aspect of the Programme. Three secret undersea bases, off the coasts of Oran, Algiers and Annaba, coupled with a small fleet of submarine landing craft allowed the French military to completely drive the rebels away from the coast. No matter how successful the Rebels were (such as their captures of Algiers, in 1960 and 62), they were unable to discover and eradicate, or even merely terrorise the French presence, and by 63, without serious military successes, their tenuous alliance was so frayed that they no longer had an army to field. This operation is commonly described by military historians as the ultimate trump card against guerilla war - but apart from France, no other nation has seen fit to develop such a capability.


Atlantis is the 40th province of France, with over 1,000,000 acknowledged citizens. It consists of a network of underwater habitation domes and aquaculture plantations extending out to the edge of the continental shelf - about as far west as Ireland. It was the incorporation of this province into the State that prompted the peaceful dissolution of the Sixth Republic, and the incorporation of the Seventh, in 2249.


The most dramatic and recent advance of the Programme Pelagique is the colony of Cousteau, on Callisto, the sea-covered moon of Jupiter. Unveiled in 2347, little is yet known of this secretive colony, apart from its location on the surface, and its depth, an impressive 5,600 meters. Engineers propose that the low gravity of Callisto must make the water pressure significantly less than it would be on earth, but little more can be surmised, given the advancement of French technology in this specialised area.

Notable Rumors

The Programme Pelagique is highly secretive, and significantly more advanced in a branch of technology that most other powers have virtually ignored.


One of the most enduring rumours, particularly popular in nearby England, is that the French are pursuing banned genetic manipulation in order to create soldiers that can operate underwater without asssistance, or in its more fanciful manifestations, preparing to move the whole French populace permanently underwater. Gilled corpses supposedly washed up on beaches from Brighton to Cork, and even as far as Wales are advanced as proof of this theory, but none have ever made publicly available. For now, this theory falls into the same category as UFOs.

Project Viper Mer

A more worrying prospect to military planners is the possibility of Project Viper Mer (Sea Snake). In 2281, disgruntled, and possibly schizophrenic military scientist Emanuel Poisson published a airport thriller, which he later claimed was based on fact. In it, he discussed a network of clandestine undersea nuclear launch facilities, some actually inside the territorial waters of other nations, and capable of delivering a variety of warheads without betraying the location of the launch point, or the nationality of the launcher. Naturally, the French government denies such a scheme entirely, and points to the cost of its underwater operations and the impossibility of constructing one undetected.

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