Makuhero City has fallen.
History had recorded the era as a time of peace, a time where beings, both organic and mechanical, lived together in equal parts harmony and prosperity. Crime in the galaxy had been at an all time low, even on planets such as Mechna, which were once notorious for acting as breeding grounds for all manner of criminal activity. For a while, it seemed like the biggest concern of the period was the rising tensions between the robots and the indigenous species they were beginning to outnumber, but even that too died down after a number of years.
And then the infection changed everything.
What started off as the anouncement of a radical new breakthrough in the field of medical technology would soon turn into a tragedy. Civilians, the press, and government officials gathered to witness the unveiling of Hermes One, a revolutionary new revitalisation chamber designed by Makuro Industries to repair any and all damage, no matter the composition of the recipient. By integrating a swarm of programmable nanobots into an injured subject's system, the device could then command them to reconfigure themselves in order to perfectly replicate or repair missing or damaged mechanical components, or even supercharge cell replication in organics, essentially using their own natural healing processes for the purposes of reversing organ damage and even regenerating lost limbs. Despite the fact that further clinical testing would still be required before it could enter mass production, the news that hospitals all across the known galaxy would soon have this technology at their disposal was understandably well received.
That is, until the miniature reactor powering the machine overloaded, triggering a catastrophic meltdown that both flooded the surrounding area with massive amounts of radiation and reduced it to little more than a smoldering crater.
Disgraced by the public outcry over the incident, Akiyama Makuro quickly withdrew himself from society shortly after evacuation efforts had been completed, though whether it was because he secretly blamed himself or because he desired to avoid it altogether remains unclear. With the death toll confirmed to be in the hundreds, and thousands more either suffering from it's aftereffects or in need of relocation, the Hermes One Tragedy soon became the largest disaster ever to be recorded within the Makuhero Belt. Years passed, monuments were constructed to honor the casualties, and the destruction was eventually repaired, but the event still left its mark on the hearts and minds of the people, both native and tourist alike.
But despite the fact that most had moved on and put the past behind them, the horror was far from over.
On the morning of the tragedy's six-year anniversary, television and radio broadcasts across the galaxy were hijacked by an unknown individual, identifying themselves only by the alias of The Puppeteer. At first, they spoke as if they were paying their respects to the victims, leading many to initially believe what they were seeing to be a sponsored memorial tribute of sorts, even though all efforts to trace the source of the transmission by local authorities came up empty. After they had started going into great detail about the technical specifications of Hermes One, however, it soon became clear that this was not the case. Announcing that the "accident" had actually been secretly orchestrated well outside of the public eye and that the reactor installed had been meticulously designed to malfunction, they then revealed the true purpose behind engineering the disaster, and why they had delayed taking responsibility for the attack up until now; they were waiting for the nanobots to spread.
Having previously been programmed to begin replicating themselves within a suitable host body, the fallout from the devastation then went to work carrying them throughout most of Makuhero City, and further modifications to the swarm had left them nigh-undetectable via standard medical equipment. Their advanced design, combined with the reality that they had not been initially designed for such a purpose, resulted in the process advancing extraordinarily slowly to the point where weeks had passed before they could reasonably begin their mission to start jumping from person to person, but it had been well worth the wait. By now, most of the city's populace had become infected, and since the contagion had not yet become public knowledge, carriers had unknowingly brought them into contact with beings located all across the galaxy via the usage of interplanetary travel, but the kicker had yet to come.
Deciding that the birthplace of the tragedy would be a fitting place to begin their new reign of terror, the feed suddenly cut to the cameras located in the streets of Makuhero City without warning, setting the stage for what was to come next.
The first being to succumb to their activation expired particularly gruesomely, his nanobots devouring him from the inside out until nothing remained of his corpse. Others immediately afterwards became rabid, causing them to turn on the rest and attack random people with whatever they could get their hands on. One organic grew three times their size, their skin taking on the texture and toughness of boulders before effortlessly tossing a shuttle bus into the third floor of a nearby building. The few who were lucky enough to remain uninfected were forced to flee for their lives, taking shelter wherever they could in an attempt to escape from the chaos surrounding them, only to be met with limited success. Within the hour, several off-world emergency response teams had been deployed to the city, most of which found themselves simply overwhelmed as they too became victims of a situation they never had the chance to prepare for. People across the galaxy who were watching the livestream began to riot, fearing that their homes would be the villain's next target, and governments everywhere knew that they had to act fast before their respective populations suffered the same fate.
Representatives of numerous worlds convened for an entire week, their location kept a closely guarded secret out of fear of reprisal, yet they still failed to produce an agreeable course of action. Some called for massive evacuations, only to be immediately shot down as it didn't matter where they planned to flee to, since any atmospheric body in range of their communication systems would be fair game to attack. A few called for military action, though this notion too was vetoed as the possibility of their own soldiers being affected and causing even more damage still remained, not to mention that they still lacked the wherabouts of their attacker's location. One even suggested attempting to establish contact and negotiating with The Puppeteer, but the amount of people willing to humor that idea were even less than the ones willing to speak of it. Days passed by with similar results, leading some to lose hope that a solution would ever present itself.
This would change, however, shortly after Akiyama Makuro's arrival.
While initially reluctant to here what he had to say, the entire room soon fell silent upon hearing that he had come prepared with an ace up his sleeve. Seeking to restore his ruined reputation, he revealed that the reactor powering Hermes One had secretly contained a substance known as Quaza, a crystal with energy storing properties many decades ago, and had been using as a component for the batteries in his company's products ever since. What made this material special in this specific case was that any energy being channeled through it emerged purer than when it had originally entered, leaving less of a long-term effect on individuals exposed to it, provided that it was in a raw, unaltered form. This quality was exactly the reason why he had chosen to incorporate the material into his invention to begin with, as so long as the nanobots maintained an opposing charge, the energy field that the device had projected would allow injured beings to safely pass through it without sustaining any further damage while simultaneously containing the active swarm inside of the device itself. Phase One of his plan involved the construction of devices utilising this energy as a means of quarantining the populace at large while preventing the infection from being activated by an outside frequency.
Phase Two, on the other hand, required him to resurrect an idea he had long since set aside due to the era of relative prosperity that had befallen them; the mass production of Quaza-powered peacekeepers, originally designed to aid law enforcement all over the galaxy, who would possess a natural immunity to the machines now threatening their very existence. By extension, these beings could go where others could not while also possessing a greater chance of combating The Puppeteer directly and stopping them once and for all, as the stone's involvement was never directly mentioned within Hermes One's schematics. A few of the representatives initially objected to this idea, citing that no singular being should possess control over what could essentially become an army, but with little other options at their disposal, the majority of them had no choice but to agree.
With funding from numerous planetary governments at his disposal and the restoration of his company's assets, two organisations quickly sprung forth from the ether, both in an an effort to combat The Puppeteer's villainy and to eradicate it once and for all. The first, known as Justice Apex and led by Makuro's own protégé, Nessia Vontillius, was responsible for providing worlds with the technology necessary to defend themselves with in secret, and for monitoring feeds in order to track the nanobot activation signals back to their source. The second, dubbed Hero Factory by Akiyama himself, went to work creating their agents and running them through vigorous training simulations in preparation for the battles to come. Working as swiftly and as diligently as they could to protect the galaxy and its inhabitants, the fate of both robots and organics were resting upon their shoulders, driving their every move as they marched on to face their ultimate destinies.
But deep down, however, all they could do was hope that their efforts would not be in vain.
Edited by Timageness, Apr 05 2016 - 05:55 AM.