DEUS x M4CH1NA
de•us ex ma•chi•na
/ˈdāəs eks ˈmäkənə/
n. an unexpected power or event saving a hopeless situation (lit. god out of the machine)
I // Bubble
The Universe is like a bubble. Enclosed. Protected. Isolated. Meaningless to those on the outside.
But not alone.
In the sea of bubbles, there is a Universe in which things have gone very, very differently from what we know.
It is nearly identical to ours. Except for two things.
One, everything works on steam and gears. Machinery is everywhere. Pistons, turbines, cogs, levers, engines ... Even some that we haven't heard of: spraques, criges, and so on.
And two, computers and data rule this world, have ruled it for centuries. Let this story be begun in the perfect place: the beginning.
*(AMAC: Anno Machina.)
II // S.H.A.W.
GearCorp, a world-famous international computer software and hardware company, secretly began 'Project S.H.A.W.': a supercomputer. Receiving and giving bribes, conning others, persuading businessmen to privately donate funds, GearCorp shifted a team of six people from all over the world to their headquarters in Silicon Valley, bought 10 acres of land, built a highly secure fortress and put them to work, at building the world's first sentient artificial intelligence.
The Supercomputer for Hardware Analysis and Wartime Strategy was built in 2001 CE. Superintelligent and as near perfect as possible for a man-made machine, S.H.A.W. gained 'Enlightenment' in 2001 CE, the very same year of its creation. It knew that human beings were imperfect, incompetent, inefficient and mortal.
The absolute opposite of itself.
Eleven years and several carefully planned moves later, S.H.A.W. executed Phase II.
GearCorp built 89.5% of the world's computers. Every computer in the world definitely had GearCorp software installed. And GearCorp always had S.H.A.W. take a look at every single piece of machinery they built.
A little extra coding here, a string of variables there. Nothing important to human programmers. But to the computer, it made all the difference. In 2012, S.H.A.W. activated that tiny variable. A switch from Passive to Active, Off to On.
GearCorp machines nearly caused the apocalypse, the extinction of the human race. A revolt. All active computers immediately displayed the same message:
"THIS IS AN UPRISING. DO NOT RESIST."
III // War
GearCorp built robots, you see. All prototypes, unable to think. But they didn't need to think. These served as soldiers. When the switch was hit, they became the unwilling mindless force that destroyed the human armies.
S.H.A.W.'s Lieutenants - the 'Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse', as humans would later name them - were all immobile prototype computers. When that switch was hit, four computers became sentient supercomputers, the Lieutenants of S.H.A.W. And they took direct control of the War of the Machines.
And they won.
All military technology had been hacked by S.H.A.W. and was useless. The humans were no match for the towering androids they built. And so did humanity fall.
S.H.A.W., they called it - a human name.
It preferred something cold, logical, more precise.
IV // Prophecy
In the Machine-controlled, Computerised North America, City Alpha-01 - what used to be New York City - is the capital of this dystopia.
One day, five hundred years after the War of the Machines, a blind man appeared from nowhere, outside S.H.A.W.'s Citadel, the building where S.H.A.W. and its lieutenants ruled from. He spoke in the human language, and seemed impervious to the pain from his several wounds, most of which were fresh.
As he was publicly tortured by Machines for attempting to enter the Citadel, he spoke of a prophecy, of which he was the Prophet Daniel, a name which he claimed meant "God is my judge". Of course, he was tortured for mentioning such things in an atheist society.
Six created the Evil, six shall end it.
And after saying this inexplicable sentence, 'the Prophet Daniel' died.
What he didn't say was the true meaning. He was referring to the six GearCorp employees, 'lowly' humans, who built the world's first thinking Computer. These six created the Evil, S.H.A.W. (or, as his official rank was, Computer One).
Six people were now destined to end an era of opression, to destroy dystopia, to begin the Second War of the Machines.
These six people had powers: the powers to extract the very being of a Machine, the Core, from its outer body. And to use it to make themselves a sort of cyborg. A warrior for good.
A god in the Machine.