- Republic of Gensoha
- Northeast of the island
- December 25, 1963
- 23:24 EST
"Omni-Mind Artificial Collective. OMACs," Luthor said, turning back to the levitating machines, "Three stories tall, with plating of tempered type 2 adamantium, bioscanning sensors to detect the X-metagene, and electromagnetic
Lane stared at Luthor in disbelief. "You're saying these things are robots? Is that what you're really telling me?"
"No, not robots, true artificial intellects. Alone, such a... crude, term could apply to them, but just like humanity, united the OMACs are invincible. I don't expect you to fully appreciate this, Major, let alone under stand it. The OMACs are all connected, a unified synthetic neural network. They all share their processing power, evenly distributing it among themselves to free such power for complex thought and reasoning. Alone, they have only suffice power for basic instincts and intelligence, roughly that of an animal's. But together, their hive minds reap their fullest potential; they can reason, deduct, predict and analyze with hundreds of viewpoints simultaneously, and weigh all matters with a thousand outlooks and variables. And with every defeat, they will learn, and become more and more powerful. They are the perfect sentinels, the guardians of humanity."
Lane stared at the OMACs hovering above skeptically. As they all descended, two hundred strong, blue energy began pulsating from each of them, like electrical surges. The streaks of electricity spread out, linking the machines together.
Their collective voiced boomed out, like a thousand voices at once.
"Dear God... you're serious."
"S.H.I.E.L.D. is serious, major. As is the research at Cadmus-X. Eisenhardt has been the foremost reason for the funding behind the organization I represent. Humanity needs saviors against the mutant menace."
A nearby explosion sent shockwaves through the ground, as military jeeps soared across the skies while on fire like a missile, taking out one of the OMACs in another brilliant explosion. Several others of the burning jeeps fell down in amongst the S.H.I.E.L.D. camp, like an artillery swarm of fire and brimstone. Charging into Luthor, Lane and several other troopers threw themselves into an entrenchment line, narrowly evading the fiery detonation of a burning tank crashing and exploding only a few meters away.
"DAMMIT!! Those damned machines of yours had better work, Luthor! Right now all they're doing is--"
"All they're doing is gathering data. This is their first mass-engagement, they need to adapt. It's a one-time necessity."
"And you couldn't have done this earlier why?"
"Because they need to be in the environment, major." Luthor said, as he began putting goggles on, "They need to first hand analyze the situation. Just be glad they're here now, because the OMACs are all that stand before you and a bloody, gruesome death. So you'd best be showing some respect."
"For humans or not, I'm not about to respect a freaking computer. Much less before it's even done a damned--"
At that moment, a bright sphere of light formed and dissipated, and a loud thunderous boom echoed forth, resonating through the island; a sonic boom. Even against the darkness and smoke, a single figure rapidly flew through the air like a blade's edge, directly at the OMACs. In like manner, the OMACs then broke their links, and as one, flew directly towards the flying figure, with surging energy forming around their forearms as they all fired in unison, two hundred blueish purple beams of electromagnetic energies that lit up the skies like a flare. The clouds above spaced away from over Genosha, and the smoke below dissipated like mere mist.
"JESUS CHRIST!!" Lane reactively closed his eyes from the blast, as did several other soldiers that happened to be staring at the engagement before them.
"Yes... they are magnificent, aren't they?" Luthor said, staring at the ordeal through his goggles, as a subtle smile curved onto his face. At that, the man then took an earpiece and fitted it and the band around his head, "This is Luthor. Inform the good doctor and S.H.I.E.l.D. that Operation: Wideawake has begun."
Twenty two years ago.....
- Extermination Camp Vernichtungslager
- November 11, 1941
- 13:19 EST
The sun was hot, and the air was arid. The dirt was lifeless like black and gray sand, dusty and sun-baked. But it was where he was always to be now, ever since the day his head was shaved of hair. Every day, he was to take a shovel and dig, him and several other boys. Max was never told for what, and he was far too afraid to ever ask. They always loved it, wanted an excuse to beat them. Only a week ago, he saw one of them, the Nazis beat to death an old man who spilled his meal while trying to carry it to out to the dining table. And then, they took his corpse, and threw it into a pile, like he was a piece of trash. He couldn't forget the sight of it, of a body mutilated and ravaged by other human hands. He could not understand how someone could do such things to another, for what amounted to nothing at all.
"You haven't seen the worst, Max."
Max glanced over, to see Benjamin digging alongside him. He was older than Max, but he was still closer to his age than anyone else there.
"What could be worse than dying?"
Benjamin's face turned solemn, like a foul stench filled his nostrils or he was viewing someone that made his utterly sick.
"Only pray that you never find out. I've seen so many things...they all die, but it's just... the way it happens. You can't even imagine it."
Max's face turned pale as he fought back tears. Ever since he'd arrived, he'd been afraid. Afraid of being beaten again, afraid of dying, afraid of losing his mother. The only family he'd had left. He'd seen what'd happened to anyone that disobeyed orders, that messed up, even just a little. And knowingly or now, with what Benjamin had told him, he felt like he couldn't live in this place. He just couldn't take it.
Snapping out of it, Benjamin spoke out again. "But don't worry. You only just got here, and you'd been doing everything right. So there's no way they'd do anything bad to you or your mom."
Max calmed down a bit. He didn't know if Benjamin was telling the truth or not, but it was all he needed to hear.
"Hey Benjamin? What happened to your parents?"
Benjamin's face turned again, but not one into sorrow or pain, but anger. Sheer, focused anger. It was only for a brief instance, vanishing as quickly as it had appeared, but it was there. And Max had caught sight of it.
"They died. But I don't want to talk about it. Besides, we have to dig, remember?"
Max felt nervous, and dropped it, continuing to dig. He didn't know him long, but they were assigned many duties together, and Max had never seen Benjamin make such a face before. As they dug for a bit longer, Benjamin glanced over at Max and grinned.
"Hey, if we have to dig, let's make a contest then. You like games?"
Max made a small smile and nodded his head.
"Then let's see who can make their dirt mount biggest before the whistle blows!"
Max smiled eagerly as they both began digging frantically. After several minutes, Max fell to his knees and Benjamin tightly gripped his shovel, using it to rest on as he eased the tension from his shoulders.
"So... did I... win?" Benjamin asked smugly, seeing his larger pile.
Max grinned back. "You were... here first.. so you had a... a head start.."
Their quite moment of laughter was then suddenly cut short. Like a chorus of wails, Max heard a massive collection of screaming echo in throughout the camp. It was not simply a single scream, but a series of it, together with banging like that against something hollow. Max was speechless through it all, which lasted several seconds before it gradually grew silent. Before the banging he heard swiftly stopped. But he heard no gun shots, saw no soldiers marching to execute anyone. It was like dozens of people all screamed for nothing.
"What was that..?"
Max then glanced up, noticing Benjamin had that same angered look on his face.
"It's Klaus Schmidt... they say he's a doctor, but he's a monster."
Max's eyes opened wider in fear.
"He killed them all?"
"He controls who dies and who lives, like he's God. He sometimes sends us to a.. a bad place. Where they kill a bunch of people all at once, then bury them.. or burn them."
Max then gripped his shovel tightly, as if it were all that stood between him and death. His mother was a worker inside, and they didn't kill them as often. But he still feared for her.
"Yes. They say he's one of the highest advisors, though. I've even heard some of his guards call him something else."
Max's eyes then changed in wonder. He couldn't imagine anyone insulting or making fun of such a person.
"What have you heard them call him?"
Benjamin was silent for a long time, before he spoke.