What happens after mankind wins the war against the machines?
Despite all the warnings, we still let it happen. We let the machines rise up against us.
The first wave took us by surprise, wiping out nearly twenty-five percent of the world’s population or more specifically… about sixty-five percent of our leaders and militaries. And with them almost all hope of survival.
However, human resolve proved to be an X-factor that the machines could not quantify. Their calculations didn’t show that the volunteers replenishing our fallen forces would be so effective.
Over the next 12 years what was left of mankind became extremely skilled at running, hiding and fighting while the mechs hunted us down like roaches, exterminating the Resistance and enslaving the rest. Ironically, it was enslaving us that proved to be their fatal error.
The enslaved had access to the machine’s technology and it didn’t take long for brave slaves to steal some of it and turn it over to the Resistance. And with that technology, the Resistance created a special half-man/half-machine fighting force — called HMF2’s for short — who possessed all of the power of a mech, but the heart of a human.
The HMF2’s first, last and only mission was to infiltrate the machine’s main tower and destroy the motherboard. And that’s exactly what they did.
Without a motherboard to direct them, all remaining mechs powered down exactly where they stood. The war was over.
In victory, the Resistance reclaimed the world. “State Zones” were created in every region that the Resistance occupied as communities where survivors could feel safe, protected and provided for.
In areas where there was no Resistance, survivors formed their own “Safe Zones” having a similar, but less secure, effect. Some of those Safe Zones fully anticipated being absorbed into the Resistance as they expanded. However other Safe Zone preferred to stay permanently independent in the new world, raising issues that I don’t have time to get into right now.
In rare cases people chose to avoid communities altogether and go it alone, completely free from an organized rule. But going it alone is a risky bet. The machines may have powered down, but they don’t stay that way. Whenever a mech’s core battery falls below 15%, that individual mech will reactivate and search for an electrical recharge. And as we all found out during the war, the human body can provide mechs with that recharge. At the expense of the human’s life.
So basically, what I’m saying is… there are advantages to living in well-guarded communities.
After the first couple of mechs spontaneously reactivated the Resistance ordered its soldiers to track down the rest of them and dismantle them while they were still dormant. But there were and still are just too many of them for the Resistance to handle. So to speed up the process, Resistance leaders offered lucrative rewards to any civilians brave enough to disassemble a mech and prove it by turning in the mechs central fuel cell. No mech can operate without its fuel cell, so it’s a pretty safe indicator that the mech has been dismantled, however, there is also the point that, in a world without power, those fuel cells are incredibly valuable to any human being that wants to regain access to hot showers and night lighting.
And I know what you’re thinking, “collecting mech fuel cells sounds like a sweet gig!” But there is one thing you should know before you even think about signing up: if a sleeping mech’s fuel cell is improperly tampered with… that deactivated mech… will reactivate and defend itself.
Having said that though, there is still just so much money to be made out there that every Tom, Dick, and Jane with a gun and set of brass balls… has convinced themselves to give it a try. And honestly… I’m one of ‘em.
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**Cover art is owned by me. The rest of the artwork is owned by various artists and intended to be a visualization of the concept only**