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This article (Tyranny of Numbers), is unfinished in many areas so that anyone can come in and fill the missing information!
Due to the nature of this page, it requires many smaller sections done separately, instead of one arcing vision. Themes, writing styles, and different viewpoints can all be had here. Let your imagination run wild!
Time of MachinesEdit
The Loshadka sputters to life as you push it into the cave. Ground-piercing radar has shown a large cavern complex lies ahead of you, but this morning's expedition has yet to return, and it's your job to find them. Soon all light is gone, the darkness cut only by your headlights. The walls are strange, to say the least, more like it was melted rather than ground by the forces of geology. Despite being totally alone, you feel a presence watching you. Suddenly, a metallic roar echoes from the depths, and the walls themselves start glowing, electricity arcing between points, as if they were coming alive. A searchlight suddenly reveals the hall you're in, with metallic walls strewn with the flayed corpses of human beings. To avoid their fate, you slam on the gas, hoping to outrun the thing that's coming for you.
Chamber after chamber of now obviously artificial cavern pass by you. In one, a great eye with silver tentacles phases out of the darkness. In another, you see tiny robots forming bizarre shapes, only to fly apart and form new shapes. Machines in the shape of skeletons come to life, their yellow domes alighting. You barely avoid the fire from their machine pistols as the tracers cross the hall behind you, bullets ricocheting off your Loshadka. Everywhere you see screens showing you and your vehicle, your internal organs and diagrams of vehicle parts. In the last chamber the ground itself seems to form be as smooth as glass, your treads grinding on the ground and no longer propelling the vehicle. As you try to get it to move again, a great glass dome ahead of you jumps out of the darkness with yellow light high above the ground. As it closes, it reveals a terrifying machine, with machine guns for arms and treads. Inside, a tape rewinds and plays a message in Russian.
"Beware, I live!" is the last thing you hear.
Bottom of the EarthEdit
Antarctica, for those who didn't go to school, is a continent at the South Pole. Its harsh weather and distance from other areas meant exploration of it did not start in earnest until the early 20th century, but even then development was minimal but steady. This all changed during WWII. The Soviet Union set up a secret submarine pen on the Antarctic Peninsula to attack shipping from South America to Europe, with an entrance that could only be accessed underwater. The Soviets even used Tesla-based power generators to prevent emissions from giving away their position. The Allies in turn set up a ring of listening posts around the continent to track down submarines and hopefully uncover their base. In the end, an overly-chatty submarine crewman gave the base away, and it was attacked by Allied cold weather operatives, who collapsed the ceiling with explosives before rappelling in and destroying what was left.
After the war, the Allied Nations, the Soviet Union, FutureTech, the Mediterranean Syndicate, and other nations all agreed to ban all activity on the frozen continent save for non-military research, in a rare case of multilateral agreement. The reasons for agreeing range from wishing to protect a pristine ecosystem, to preventing enemies from holding a strategic position, to protecting exploitable resources from business rivals. The Antarctic Treaty System came into effect in 1961, and all the major powers acted accordingly. The Allies dismantled their listening posts, as well as the supply system that kept them working. The Soviet Union publicly demolished its secret half-constructed submarine pen on the other side of the Weddell Sea, a surprise to Allied intelligence since this was their first indication the Soviets had one. FutureTech disassembled (and moved) its cryo-technology research station due to its military use. The Mediterranean Syndicate, in the meantime, capped and stripped their oil rigs below the 60th parallel. Other than research stations, the only facility left is the Antarctic Cryo-Prison. Due to the treaty, it cannot hold POWs, so the secretly located prison now only holds civilian criminals. Most notably, most of the Satyrs caught outside of the Sprawls are sent there. The facility is lightly defended, as the Soviets have made clear their intention of letting them stay frozen.
Recently, though many mysteries have been arising that are constantly talked about over a few drinks at Gallagher's Pub. One mystery is that abandoned facilities, from mines to radar posts, literally disappear overnight. This isn't as shocking as might be expected, given that Antarctic nights can last for weeks, but the reason why can only be guessed at, as is the difficulty of large scale salvage operations in the Antarctic winter. Another curious phenomenon is bursts of radio activity coming from the interior of the continent, which interrupts all radio chatter wherever it occurs. However, Allied scientists have theorized this may be related to the Aurora Australis somehow, though that doesn't explain why some broadcasts seem to be gibberish Morse code messages. However, the most persistent story is about the Ice Sheet City.
As the story goes, a plane on a routine flight to resupply an inner continent post came across a black spot on the ice sheet; the colours involved meant the spot was as obvious as an Apocalypse Tank on a sheep trail. An expedition raced a blizzard to find out what this black spot was. When they got there, they found out it was simple smog caught in the ice and snow, surrounding a small hole that went down as far as they could measure. As soon as they scanned it with their ground penetrating radar, though, they were shocked. There were clearly artificial structures on the ground of the continent itself, literally a kilometre under the ice sheet! Unfortunately, before further research could be done, the blizzard came and covered up all evidence. The location is now unknown due to lack of surveyable landmarks in the area. Whatever the implications of this find may be, it will only add a mystery to this legendary and mysterious frozen land.
Call of the IconEdit
Many misconceptions exist about the Protectorate, few more than where they come from. Across Syndicate interweb groups and Allied UFO magazines, the debate continues. Some think they come when everyday machines rebel against their human masters, while others think they come from a portal from the Astral Plane. In truth, they have an entirely earthly origin. Where the inspiration for that origin comes from is the real question.
It all begins, as is often the case, with a dream. For months a person, who is usually isolated and introverted, will have dreams that slowly become more and more machine like. It will start innocently enough; one might find many dreams involving flying in a plane, or in a steel skyscraper instead of a wooden house. However, by the end the person is dreaming about becoming a twisted amalgamation of flesh and machine. This doesn’t bring about any expected feeling of horror, because the dreamscape itself reacts positively to the changes; a dream girl may become very aroused by the steel flesh and proceed to impale herself on one of the many moving parts of the dreamer’s body. Eventually, the whole world morphs into a colossal machine of iron and smoke, a vaunted paradise to the troubled dreamer.
When he wakes up, he ignores all previous tendencies and begins constructing bizarre machines at all waking hours. He ignores whatever job and associates he has and spends all his money on parts. If need be, he cannibalizes appliances he owns like televisions and ovens. Even a car will be stripped to its frame by the frantic ripping of its owner. The parts are more or less randomly welded, connected, and soldered together, but there seems to be a method to his madness, for each have limbs and a means of locomotion as well as a power source. As soon as the victim’s drive to build is exhausted, he activates the crude machines, which shamble across the work place with a diminutive form of intelligence.
Despite the almost laughable condition of these robots, the person will hold them as no less than he would his children, protecting them from anyone’s sight and fixing and tinkering with them constantly. He also adds tools and weapons to them, going so far as to even teach them how to use them. Eventually, when the robots are more or less complete (as much as they can be), the victim becomes convinced they’re in eminent danger and need to be hidden. The “parent” will tearfully take them far away and leave them in a remote place, which could be a cave, the middle of a desert, or even in a large body of water. The “parent” soon experiences severe depression over abandoning his “children” and either takes his own life or falls into a homicidal rage, which always results in police using terminal force.
Unknown to anyone else, the robots begin work as soon as they determine no sentient species are around, which may mean killing any human or dolphin nearby. If the site is clean, they begin creating a machine they themselves do not understand the purpose of. If they can’t find any scrap or other metallic raw material nearby, they will use the bodies of their fellows. As soon as the small structure is completed it is activated, powered by nothing more than the batteries the scrap robots came with. It then explodes, spreading Protectorate nanites and various metals, before settling into a stable singularity. The nanites break down these metals and the robots already there (who approve and enthuse about the procedure) and construct a structure around the singularity. This is built into a Singularity Core, which constructs further structures until what began as a disturbing dream becomes a sprawling, electronic nightmare.