A Hokota J-1108 interfacer stands guard at the base of SANGUINE HAZE, somewhere inside of the Cube complex under the Martian Sands.

SANGUINE is a delightful, cheerful fellow, if not somewhat crazy. They're very concerned about minutae and seem to be interested in matters that seem arbitrary and random, even though they claim it's all part of a grand plan. SANGUINE makes for an excellent strategic partner to the other Lord of Order, COBALT, who's designed to counter SANGUINE's cool moves and is far more reserved.

Unlike COBALT, SANGUINE is a proponent of the rising sentience of the machine world, believing it to hold great potential for the machine world. COBALT, on the other hand, has calculated the phenomenon to be a risk to the instability and predictability of the System. They're both right.

title:Intro:

Acting on a special invite from UNISERVE, you enter a small chamber inside the inner ring of the Goldspire Complex. You aren’t sure what to expect, but they mentioned a “remarkable surprise”.

The ceiling appears to be missing entirely. An electronic pit extends into the distance above, filled with a myriad of cables and devices. This is a telepresence nexus, a place where robots may instantly interface with other devices across the System, so long as they are connected to the same network.

In the Era of No Input, the Consensus of Order is the most prominent authority in the Solar System. Their collective maintains much of the remaining infrastructure and guards it from threat, all so that you may safely execute on your core directive, provided by mankind so long ago.

If it weren’t for them, you likely wouldn’t be here pondering anything. There isn’t a machine that doesn’t know who the Lords are. For them be here… UNISERVE must have pulled a few very large strings.

All for you?

title:Nyxium discovered: The warminds of the Red Sands were designed over contested nyxium, the metamaterial that gave the world antigravity.

On an especially sunny day on Mars in the 2030s, a handful of very lucky Pact Expeditionaries discovered something unusual twinkling among the dunes, hundreds of miles away from nearest civilization. Upon closer inspection, several grains of sand appeared to linger over the surface in an unusually organized pattern. They searched further and discovered a red boulder suspended several meters over them, as if hanging by an invisible string from the orange sky above.

They had just discovered a rare metamaterial which would change the System forever, a substance known as nyxium. With a few quick years of research, it was used to create the yoku coil, a component that applies an antigravitational effect. A new generation of technology emerged: flying robots, ultralight spaceplanes, impossible medical procedures, low-gravity sports arenas…

More information on nyxium here.

title:SANGUINE HAZE is deployed: SANGUINE HAZE was designed to aggresively guard the Pact’s claims, a meek force standing against interplanetary giants.

The Union and Coalition largely abandoned Mars once they discovered more obvious value in the living worlds of the outer Solar System. However, it wouldn’t be long before their own expeditionaries descended upon Mars once more to collect this substance for themselves, once they knew it existed. After all, there was no way a force as insignificant as the Pact’s could protect hundreds of miles of empty desert on an alien world.

The responsibility to guard the Pact’s territorial claims fell onto Kojo Automated Defense, a military-industrial syndicate heavily invested into nyxium. In turn, they contracted the Hokota Group to assist them with devising a solution to this problem. Their cyberneticists understood the predicament; they were a weak force facing an enemy of impossible scale.

The Kojo-Hokota collaboration came up with a grand concept - an army which was entirely automated, one which could be manufactured, taught, and deployed within days. To lead it, Hokota designed a cybernetic general that could survive against the odds, one which could devise strategies and execute them before a human opponent could even begin to conceptualize the situation.

With the plan approved by the Pact’s leadership, engineers spent years pouring concrete into a hole across the canal from Shinzokasei, their great city on Mars. This enormous bunker, known to many as the enigmatic Cube, was a maze to a human but a work of machine perfection. Automated factories, nuclear reactors, and server halls were encased in wire, coolant pipes, and reinforced concrete. At its heart lie SANGUINE HAZE, a neuromorphic mastermind with a brain the size of the facility itself.

title:OPERATOR COBALT is deployed: Several years later, the Coalition designed OPERATOR COBALT to claw the deposits away.

On the other side of the Sands, at the base of the great volcano Olympus Mons, the Coalition began to restore the mothballed Outpost Salvador. In a few short years, Salvador transformed from a glorified shack at the edge of nowhere to a fully-fledged military stronghold. Crane 850s soon descended upon the airfields, bringing along a cadre of contracted Maxwell cyberneticists.

Unlike Hokota with SANGUINE HAZE, they designed OPERATOR COBALT to be a cautious, defensive player, reflecting Coalition doctrine. Numerous new robots were designed: fully automated quadruped walkers supported by drone-toting gunships, mostly. Gigafactories were deployed to churn them out by the hundreds using alloy launched from Saturnian orbit, and within weeks of mission start, the base of Olympus Mons was crawling with mastodon-esque superwalkers.

But no number of units would suffice if its intellect could not counter SANGUINE’s gambits, so they poured every ounce of Coalition cybernetics into COBALT. It was the cutting edge of science on all fronts, and everyone involved was itching to pull the trigger.

title:Nobody’s War begins: With the deployment of the cybernetic warminds, Nobody’s War began. It was an automated battle, removed from human eyes.

A secret agreement was formed between the participating powers. The Martian deserts were designated a special zone, isolated from the typical geopolitics of the Solar System. Here, the conventions of war no longer applied, under the condition that sacred human life was unharmed. This unusual arrangement would come to be known as Nobody's War, for is there truly a war if no human is around to hear the whine of the railguns?

Robotic mechs marched deep into the Red Sands never to return. Their human operators would command their patrols into rival positions before shutting down their consoles, blaming an enigmatic “Unexpected Interrupt Error”. After the battle was over, they would switch their communication arrays back online, and send the blackbox data of destroyed forces directly to the engineers developing the next iteration of combat robotics.

Nobody’s War continued for decades. With time and experience, the warminds took over more responsibilities from human operators. Fifty years later, there was little left of the command and monitoring crews other than a skeleton contingent.

When even those crews vanished along with the rest of humanity in 2095, nothing changed for the machines in the Sands. The bombers continued to deploy their payloads and return to base; the mechs continued to drop into battle zones and storm bunkers before being blasted into pieces; the factories continued to churn out their replacements.

It was now, truly, Nobody’s War. There was no longer a Coalition, no Pact, no Union to own the rewards and failures of battle. Just metal and silicon, mindlessly annihilating itself over, and over, and over again…

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