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Rise of the Machines

The Machine Empire are not robots. It is a difficult distinction, but vital to remember. The moment a general begins to think of the Machine Empire as mere robots is the moment they have likely lost the battle. The Machine Empire are more than robots. They are living, thinking machines capable of creativity and incredible cruelty. And while some of their actions can be determined by computerised functions, they are not robots. It is important to realise that as living machines they can still be affected by the weapons used against robotic opponents, but it should never be assumed that such attacks render them helpless. The Machine Empire is hardened against Electro Magnetic Pulse attacks and hacking. But to understand their movements, one needs to refer back to their origins...

Extract from report to Galactic Council Identified Threat #S04001-5ME

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The first Power Rangers had appeared and the time of the Guardians as the primary peacekeepers in the galaxy was officially at an end. The political and cultural centres of the galaxy had been completely disrupted by Sauron and his fleet. Even as the Master-At-Arms and others helped to re-establish a working order, events were unfolding that would bring about one of its greatest threats.

When the Morphin Masters had left the physical universe, they had entrusted their families and allies to render their creations harmless, leaving instructions on how to do so and a list of priorities. It had taken a long time but their loyal followers had done as they were bid, travelling the cosmos to disable the dimensional archways and hopefully prevent invasion from outside forces. Then they had systematically disassembled the Masterforges, taking time to make sure that each was put beyond use. It was a complication process and it took a long time to decommission each forge. Some they were able to simply destroy, but others were located on planets and needed to be disconnected safely before destruction.

The Machine Empire came about as a result of a final experiment at Morphinforge UXAS in a distant part of the galaxy. UXAS was one of many sites that the descendants of the Morphin Masters had visited and rendered 'safe' following the Ascension. The Master Arch within the facility had been removed and the lesser transport arch had been linked only to worlds inside its solar system. The Masterforge had been safely disconnected from the Morphin Grid - a surprisingly simple task that involved removing a small crystal from a console - although it remained a working forge in all other ways. It also housed a fully charged and primed Morphin Engine that the descendants had been wary of touching during their initial visit due to the unfamiliarity with the technology. By the time they returned, others had claimed the site and its equipment and there was little that could be done to stop them.

UXAS was at the time conducting questionable experiments on creating artificial life using energy drawn through the Morphin Engine into a prepared body. The theory relied upon drawing a suitable Grid entity into the body and then hitting it with a full charge of processed Grid Energy from the Morphin Engine. Previous experiments had led to the creation of near-sentient machines that the Morphin Masters had distributed to help vulnerable worlds.

During the experiment the lifeless body they had prepared was brought to life by the Grid Energy, unfortunately instead of a harmless Grid entity as they had desired, a malignant force hijacked the procedure, taking the opportunity for a physical existence. In moments the entity infected the waiting body and then the entire network inside Morphinforge UXAS. At that point, the archway to UXAS was remotely destroyed and all communication was lost.

Within days a new being calling himself the Machine Emperor had claimed UXAS and the planet it inhabited. The Masterforge and Morphin Engine were put to use manufacturing servants for the Machine Emperor. The Morphin Engine provided the new mechanical monarch with the energy needed to mass-produce servants and soldiers. In weeks the plant had been reshaped into the Machine World where the throne of Emperor Camshaft looked out over the countless factories and foundries.

Time passed and the Machine Empire created ships to travel to neighbouring worlds, conquering those around them to add resources for their expansion plans. With the transportation arch destroyed and the link to the Morphin Grid disabled, Camshaft had realised that his high-speed manufacturing process would have to end when he ran out of either raw materials or energy. The former had an easy solution of sending his fleets forth and conquering everything in their path before returning all useable materials to the Machine World. At the same time, Machine Empire mining facilities were set up wherever valuable materials were located.

The lack of energy was a greater problem. Camshaft and his creations could operate with just about any type of fuel, with the right adaptations. But to create machines such as himself capable of true intelligence and leadership required Grid Energy. It was with some reluctance that Camshaft realised that he could not continue building underlings in the way he had been. He instead needed to produce those that would stand beneath him as the leaders of the Machine Empire as he sent them forth to conquer key planets and seek out Morphin Engines that remained connected to the Grid.

His first creation was a vicious queen to rule at his side. He called her Lube and assigned her the duty of identifying targets for his armies. He next produced the kings and queens of twelve royal houses. Each house was a kingdom unto itself in service of the Machine Empire, with Camshaft assuming the role of High King to whom they would all report. Lube's strategy allowed each king a territory they could maintain without competing with each other - Camshaft desired conquest no infighting.

As years turned to centuries, the Royal Houses of the Machine Empire spread out into the cosmos, invading neighbouring galaxies and strip-mining world after world. Their actions marked them as a threat to many civilisation and led to countless skirmishes which the machines easily won. Some worlds were so concerned by the future threat the Machine Empire could pose, that they started building defences to stop them.

Eventually, Camshaft's body broke down from old age and a lack of replacement parts. Unlike the Kings of the Royal Houses, Camshaft retained his original body and had replaced parts as they expired. His body was a patchwork of metal plates and filler. Camshaft and Lube had never uploaded their schematics to the Central Archive within the Machine Planet. There was therefore no way to fabricate new parts before the old ones wore down, and in their current state, the broken parts were too damaged to be taken away for study. Nor had their memories and personalities been uploaded the the Machine Planets network where they could be retrieved and installed in a new shell. Lube and Camshaft lacked the interface needed to make such large data transfers and in their frail state, could no longer have the components installed.

By this time the Morphin Engine had ceased working and had been deconstructed for materials needed elsewhere. Many of the factories and foundries created at the start of the Machine Empire had broken down due to a lack of resources, and most production tasks were carried out by the Royal Houses within their own territories. The Machine Emperor had become little more than a figurehead and a symbol of unity, with very little authority.

Before going offline, Camshaft announced his heir Wingnut would serve as the new Machine Emperor and that the lesser kings were required to return and pay homage to their new High King. The various factions did so, some returning with bounty for the first time in millennia. Upon arrival, they were shaken by the decay of the Machine World. In a combined effort and despite the protests of Camshaft and Wingnut, the lesser rulers reshaped the Machine World, stripping away the decrepit factories and unused foundries, choosing to concentrate on the preservation of the massive computer core where remote backups of the lesser rulers were stored and the central foundry where their bodies were produced. As this was their backup in case their bodies were destroyed, it was in their interests to maintain it.

For some reason, Camshaft, Lube and Wingnut had never submitted their core code for backup and their schematics were not retained within the blueprints held by the foundry. For Camshaft and Lube, it was too late to correct their oversight as their bodies had reached the point of terminal bit rot. Wingnut, however, vowed that he would make a copy of his memories following his coronation.

Emperor Wingnut was killed in an unfortunate accident shortly after his ascension to the throne before he could follow through on his vow. The cause of the accident was never investigated. With his passing, there was no direct heir to assume the role of High King and a war began with the Royal Houses that would divert them from their previous conquests as they sought to claim the throne. For its part, the rest of the cosmos breathed a sigh of relief.

Eventually of the twelve Royal Houses, only eight survived. King Mondo claimed victory on behalf of the Royal House of Gadgetry, proclaiming himself Ruler of the Machine Empire. His rivals ignored him but no longer fought over the issue. An accord was reached where the foundry and compute core would remain available to each of the surviving households with the four extinct houses purged from the memory banks. To the rest of the cosmos, Mondo could proclaim himself ruler of the Machine Empire, but the other factions would not acknowledge him as such, even if they didn't fight for the position.

A search of the Machine World's data core revealed Camshaft's plans for each of the Royal Houses to secure a chain of key systems that would allow the Machine Empire to continue expanding without needing to worry about supplies. Some of the key worlds were even labelled as possible locations of Masterforges and Morphin Engines based on the records taken days after Camshaft's creation. The Machine Empire more than any other faction had a working knowledge of the Morphin Masters, their technology and the secrets they left behind. It fell to the new rulers to seek such power and secure the Machine Empire's place above other villainous dynasties.

At one point King Mondo visited an insignificant planet called Earth. His recovered memories did not reveal why he had gone there or what had occurred. There had clearly been a confrontation and Mondo had been destroyed, losing the Emperor's Royal Sword in the process. When he was rebuilt he had shrugged the planet off as insignificant and moved on to other tasks.

Over a thousand years later a routine diagnostic of the Central Archive revealed that a deception had taken place. An investigation was launched, and as a result, King Mondo abandoned his invasion of a world capable of sustaining the Machine Empire's gold-wiring needs for thousands of years to come and instead turned his attention toward the little planet where he had previously met his end.

In the small data packet, hidden deep within the system behind many artificial file walls, there was an alert. The insignificant planet Earth had been identified as a possible location of multiple Master Arches, numerous Masterforges and most importantly for Mondo: Morphin Engines still considered online. There a report had been sent by a member of the Alliance of Evil and had drawn Mondo's attention to the planet over a thousand years earlier. Somehow, not only had he been defeated on the planet, but the information had been erased from his memory banks and suppressed from re-emerging for over a thousand years.

Now the Machine Empire had a new goal. Earth was a key planet in their plans for conquest. They would take the world and if it held the Morphin Engines as they suspected, then they would transform Earth into a new Machine World. First, though they needed to establish their claim to the planet and that meant removing would-be competition such as Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa from the nearby moon.

And from observation posts across the galaxy, the same message was sent as they tracked the rapid progress of the Royal House of Gadgetry towards its intended target... It's Coming!

End


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