Full Name: unknown
Faction: Jade Cult
In a labyrinthine lab complex hidden far from prying eyes far beneath the streets of Tokyo, Dr. Hideo Takahashi trembled inwardly. Trying hard to focus and compose himself as assistants busied themselves all around him, he resolved not to reveal his fear, for his master was nothing if not capricious; yet rewards for the Green Emperor’s most capable servants were truly great.
The doctor’s laboratories were state of the art, bedecked with bleeding edge computer work stations, engineering equipment, and related paraphernalia so advanced that it had not yet even reached market, all stolen from under the noses of its various developers. The Green Emperor always got what he desired, and in turn his underlings were given the best to work with. They did so with a simple understanding – failure was not an option. Dr. Takahashi understood that tenet as well as any servant of the Jade Cult.
Dr. Takahashi’s lab-complex was home to not just the acquired technologies that allowed it to undertake the research and development demanded by the Green Emperor, but it also served as a small-scale production facility for the creation of the Green Emperor’s fearsome Terror Cotta Warriors.
The best and brightest minds selected to serve the Jade Cult saw to their primary task: scientists and engineers designing and building new Terror Cotta Warriors through a melding of ancient relics and bleeding edge technology. An army of the robot-soldiers had been amassed under the aegis of the Green Emperor, to be dispatched in unobtrusive shipping containers to ports worldwide where the tendrils of the Green Emperor’s influence could be felt when the time was right. The Warriors were his foot soldiers, the armored fist of the Jade Cult. They represented his unrelenting, unflinching might; a networked phalanx to crush his enemies. The scope of the Green Emperor’s ambitions was vast – far beyond the understanding or realizations of a scientist such as Takahashi – but a general needed his soldiers, even a general as powerful as the Green Emperor, and that is what the Terror Cotta Warriors provided.
Half-completed torsos and leg drive trains hung from ceilings on chain-hoists; rocket and missile launcher mechanisms were laid out within dust-free assembly pods; spear weapon-arms on wall racks; CPU chips-sets were boxed awaiting installation; self-destruct mechanisms ready to be transplanted into the literal heart of these soldier-machines. All parts awaiting assembly. And for completion, a further enhancement would be necessary. Takahashi had once playfully mused to himself that it was like a robot autopsy in reverse.
Takahashi thought he felt a sudden slight chill in the lab. From the dark corners of the room stepped Shadow Mask, the master assassin and greatest of the Jade Cult Ninja Assassins. If Shadow Mask was here, then the master would arrive shortly. And if Shadow Mask had allowed Takahashi to see him, then that was significant. The assassin in the darkness could have killed the doctor without alerting him to his presence if that was what the Emperor intended. That he had not done so provided Takahashi with a boost as it offered a modicum of reassurance. He affirmed to himself that surely the Emperor would be pleased with his team’s latest achievements. ‘Yes, that would be it’, he thought to himself, ‘the Green Emperor is surely satisfied’.
The doors to the lab swished open, and a powerful and imposing figure strode through from the dark without. The Green Emperor, bearing the armor that he was never seen without. The force of his personality was so strong that Takahashi felt he almost filled the room. The Emperor was flanked by four Jade Cult Ninjas and the deadly and beautiful Green Serpent. The chill of terror touched Takahashi’s soul once more as Jade Serpent sinuously glided across the room to stand some way behind him. It took all of his remaining resolve to not look behind himself
Bowing, Takahashi rattled off the latest accomplishments. In the last quarter more than one hundred Terror Cotta Warrior units had been produced, exceeding the set target by ten per cent. All were being packed into shipping containers to be dispatched to cities around the world to be deployed when required. Engineers had worked double time to get achieve the quota. Takahashi hoped that his master noted that they had surpassed expectations with the latest production run of Terror Cotta Warriors.
“And what of the failure rate, doctor?” asked the Green Emperor. Steel and threat were in his voice this time. As the question was posed, Takahashi tugged at his shirt collar, his fear palpably growing. Terror Cotta Warrior’s had seen the Green Emperor’s technologies advanced one step further. Human nervous systems had been grafted into the units from dead servants of the ruthless Emperor found lacking. However, the process was still in its infancy and success rates yielded high rate of failed implantation. The science and engineering team had worked doubly hard to strive to achieve their targets, but had ultimately faced many set-backs. Takahashi hoped his master would recognize the difficulties in marrying the myriad technologies within a single controllable unit.
“We have had some modest success, master,” began the scientist, his voice tremulous, “But overall reliability has been compromised due to difficulties in –“.
The Green Emperor cut him off with a brief sweep of his hand.
“Dr. Takahashi, I do not care for justifications of failure. I care only for achievement, for success. I reward those that meet my standards with boons they could otherwise only dream of. All of my servants know this. You know this, doctor. The price I place on such standards, on such generosity in success, is that failure is not an option.”
Takahashi paled. He was aware of such overwhelming forces around him: Shadow Mask; Green Serpent; the Jade Cult Ninjas. Any one of them could end his life within a single movement. But to be faced with the recognition of failure by the Green Emperor himself; that suggested a far worse fate was in store for him.
“You are promoted Dr. Watanabe. Do not make the same mistakes as your predecessor. I suggest the rate of failure has been compromised by process. From now on, please ensure that nervous system grafting is from live and intact subjects. Start with Dr. Takahashi and see how things proceed.”
The room swam in Takahashi’s field of vision. His body felt chill through to his bones.
The master of the Jade Cult then swept from the room, imperious, followed silently by his deadly agents. Behind him the screams of Dr. Takahashi rang out as the poor scientist realized his wretched fate.