Technology in the Cosmic Era can become corrupted and infested. When this happens to a mecha, the result in codenamed a Hekatonkheire.
The Hekatonkheire cannot easily be mistaken for anything other than an infested mecha. The machine typically retains its basic profile and any damage sustained before it was taken out of action. The rents in the armor and chasms in the machine are filled with an elastic cancerous flesh. This biomass extends through the internal compartments of the machine and serves to control and animate the machine, and is capable of rapidly healing. Exposed sections of this infestation manifest random limbs and oversized glands, organs and other humanoid biological features. Eyes, arms, bodily 'orifices' and teratoma like extrusions of hair, teeth and bone are common.
The mech retains zombie like control of it's systems, and its weapons are still functional even if the power core has been destroyed. Weapons that have been damaged or systems that have depleted their ammunition don't work. Energy and beam weapons retain their functionality, as do arcanotech based systems. Hekatonkheires lacking function weapons resort to physical combat and will improvise melee weapons, hurl large pieces of debris, and otherwise physically grapple with perceived foes.
Hekatonkheires are created by accident. The most common source of these infested machines is mecha destroyed while containing storm rifts. Most rifts are small, and do not require the use of weapons as large as mecha, but some of the rifts and storm events that have occurred in Asia and in locations like Chernobyl are large and have become semi-permanent or cyclic in nature. Mecha destroyed containing rift horrors run the risk of being infested. The arcanotech contained in the machines attracts the strange energies and attention of cosmic horrors that are associated with the storm events.
The machine begins to grow a sort of unknown biomass, often aided by creatures associated with the storm event adding human corpses to the machine, or even throwing themselves into it. This organic material is incorporated into the growing mass. An unaided growing biomass takes several days to manifest enough to reanimate the machine. Hekatonkheires that are 'fed' can manifest and rise in as little as a few hours. More heavily damaged machines can take much longer to be reanimated by this process. A few hekatonkheires resemble little more than fleshy giants with mecha parts wedged onto them.
The first hekatonkheires appeared in China shortly after the Pearl River Incident. The first group of ACPS responders shut down the damaged reactor, but not before the Pearl River Rift stabilized and became self sustaining. The ACPS 33rd Mobility Unit responded, and lost a large number of machines in the resultant 'bug hunt'. Over the next week, the lost mecha returned to action like giants of myth, hurling pieces of buildings, small vehicles and other wreckage at units attempting to contain the event. The 33rd Mobility Unit was later disbanded due to heavy losses.
The hekatonkheires proved resilient, rapidly healing from non-lethal damage. Even without weapons the infested mecha proved lethal foes, stomping infantry and in some cases devouring corpses or still living victims. The hekatonkheires were eventually destroyed or contained, but at great cost in terms of collateral damage, lives lost, and cost of munitions expended.
Since the hekatonkeire phenomenon was discovered, a Conservation of Firepower approach has been applied to containing storm rifts and fronts has been largely in effect. Since the Pearl River event, mecha and other heavy military equipment are reserved for final containment efforts. More emphasis is placed on using local forces, and then power armor and special forces. The majority of Hekatonkheire created since the Pearl River event are generated from commercial grade and industrial mecha. These non-militarized machines retain most of the abilities of military mecha, but lack the armor protection, larger size, and other advantages enjoyed by military machines.
The Hekatonkheire is a cosmic horror/mecha cyborg. As a cosmic horror, the biomass has the ability to channel cosmic power which it can use to animate the electric and mechanical components of a downed mecha. The machine functions like a half living half zombie crammed into an iron casing. Initiative is low, and the machine is largely immune to critical hits (weapon systems can be destroyed, but there are no vulnerable components left inside the machine) and the hekatonkheire is not a rational or intelligent opponent. The horror typically attacks the most prominent target (largest visible foe) or the closest active enemy (foes actively attacking the horror).
Cyclops - nicknamed for the ghoulish alien eye that grew in the ruined torso of a battle damaged Wolverine main battlemech. Cyclops appeared in the midst of a skirmish between Federation and Alliance troops in North Africa along with a swarm of alien insects, causing the two forces to join up to put down the common threat. Cyclops destroyed two mecha, mauled three others, and killed an uncounted number of infantry before it was disabled. Cyclops is officially listed as having been destroyed, but it remains in Federation custody at a lab near Kinshasa.
Loki - nicknamed for the horns and massed animalistic features growing from the missing arm and head unit on a Scandinavian Valkyrie light mech, Loki ran amok for two weeks before being destroyed. Loki retained flight capability, and was only brought down after it was engaged by a Scandinavian air frigate. The remnants of Loki was delivered to the Midgard Research Center, and was used for further genetic experimentation.
Brainiac -One of the oldest hekatonkheires, Brainiac was originally an advanced stealth/recon mecha that was damaged by the failure of its prototype stealth suit. The machine took two weeks to become fully infested, and once it became active, it wandered for several weeks before encountering hostile. Brainiac had suffered a catastrophic feedback resonance wave between the stealth suit and the power core, leaving the machine almost completely intact, and its arcanotech gear was still all functional. The hekatonkheire, lacking weaponry, hacked a number of Allied mecha, killing several pilots through biofeedback, and driving several savagely insane. Brainiac had started to demonstrate telekinetic and pyrokinetic abilities before it was destroyed by a Federation black ops ghost destroyer.
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? Responses (7)
Undead machines. Ick.
This submission is like the universe itself - pulling in bits and pieces everywhere into a cohesive whole.
These are great and form instant adventures for the game. Playing a mechwarrior/battletech campaign in this world would be wild fun.
Where does this bio-mass come from, and why does it specifically target non-biological stuff? Wouldn't it have been more plausible to have like a nano-swarm or other sentient technology attach itself to the mecha? If this bio-mass can do this, wouldn't it just have been easier for it to make itself a fully biological body, or to take over a biological entity? Visually, the idea is nice, but it just seems a bit implausible.
This biomass is functionally ectoplasm, ephemeral material, that is 'bleeding' over into reality. Multiple dimensions, and dimension seepage are both not rare events in the cosmic era. The biomass is not targeting non-biological material, the biomass is the unintended consequence of arcanotechnology, it isn't a normal organism. Its cybernetic cancer.
As for being implausible, well thats the entire purpose of arcanotechnology; levitation, free energy, infinite heat dissipation, true mechanical sentience, copying people's memories, artificial brains, giant robots, exotic beam weapons, etc. It is supposed to be strange and disturbing. It isn't a slick shiny creature inhabiting the shell of a mecha, it is a mass of cancerous tissue, tapping into the conduit of human suffering and misery.
Oh sort of like Evangelion, where they built the mechas of the fallen angels. That makes more sense.
Evangelion is one of my favorite animes, and I have to admit there was certainly some influence from it. I would make a hekatonkheire a mix of evangelion and the Zerg infested units from Starcraft. Unlike Evangelion, these aren't being produced deliberately by any secret government agencies, though there are several of them in containment undergoing study. At this point, I am going to say that domesticating a hekatonkheire is currently beyond the ability, or simply too dangerous to be reliable.
Great write-up for these gross guys. I like the unique additions at the end, particularly the way Brainiac blends tech, arcanotech, and biological horror.