|“||Nobody talks about it. We learn not to ask questions. Look, without the treatments, we'd die. What are we supposed to do?||”|
|— Maya Vie [src]|
The Harvest Project was the codename of the Mountain Men program led by Dr. Lorelei Tsing, that provided Mount Weather residents treatment for radiation exposure. This was achieved through blood transfusions using Grounder captives as filters for the residents, not only preventing further radiation damage but healing what has already occurred. The Harvest traditionally took place in the Harvest Chamber, and eventually, kills the captives.
The program shifted focus after Dr. Tsing learned that the Mountain Men can survive outside of the mountain only if they use the bone marrow from the Delinquents. There was originally a separate lab for the harvesting of the bone marrow from the Delinquents that contained enough cages for all 47 Delinquents within the mountain. After all of the Mount Weather residents were restricted to Level 5, the bone marrow harvesting was moved to the dorm on Level 5 where the Delinquents had originally stayed.
The Harvest Project started 56 years prior when the Mountain Men realized the Grounders had adapted to the outside radiation, making them immune to it. Mountain Men were not able to adapt to the outside as they had remained in the Mountain the entire time. They eventually realized they could use Grounders to filter their blood of the radiation that was poisoning the Mountain Men. The Grounders, however, were presumably not willing to volunteer for this task so the Mountain Men would take them by force.
To make things easier, through the Cerberus Project, they turned the strongest Grounders into vicious monsters called "Reapers" in order to reap other Grounders into the Mount Weather Mines. The Mountain Men then inject the Red drug into the Reapers in exchange for Grounders. Once the Mountain Men had finished harvesting the Grounder blood, they would dispose of the dead and dying Grounders back into the mines for the Reapers to feast on.
Once the Grounders had been sorted into either Cerberus or Harvest, they would then go through decontamination where they are blasted with boiling water and doused with something that "burns even worse," according to Lincoln. They are given shots and pills as well as visually inspected before being placed into a cage for later use.
When Grounder blood is needed, a Grounder is selected for the harvest machine. According to Echo, they take the strongest first. The grounder is stunned with a shock baton and given a shot to knock them out. They are then hung upside down and their blood is circulated through the Mountain Men in need, taking approximately an hour and a half for each treatment. When Sky People blood is used, it only takes approximately 25 minutes instead. Each Grounder can be used multiple times before the Mountain Men dispose of them, sometimes still barely alive, by leaving them in the mines for the Reapers to feast on.
Dr. Tsing began experimenting with the Sky People's blood by first exposing Mount Weather resident Maya Vie to radiation and then curing her with Jasper Jordan's blood. She used another resident of Mount Weather, Keenan Mykulak, as a test subject to see how long the Sky People blood offered immunity.
With Keenan's death, Dr. Tsing realized they needed to go to the source of the blood: the bone marrow of the Delinquents currently living in Mount Weather. For all 382 residents, it would require 8 bone marrow transplants from each of the 47 Delinquents, leading to their deaths. There was a 48-hour delay between receiving the bone marrow and becoming immune to radiation. Harper McIntyre and Monty Green were the first victims of the bone marrow harvest, however, Dante Wallace put a temporary stop to it, saving their lives. Once the bone marrow harvesting started back up again under Cage Wallace's leadership, Fox and four other delinquents would die before the project was permanently halted with the deaths of everyone in Mount Weather except for Carl Emerson who had already received the bone marrow treatment.
- Bone Marrow
Notes And Trivia
- It is unknown how the Mountain Men acquired their first group of Grounders, but a tactic similar to what they used on the Delinquents in We Are Grounders (Part 2) was likely used.