“They don’t feel anything, they don’t care if you live or die. They’re hard to kill, impossible to understand. And if you’re in their way they’ll sweep you aside in the most efficient way possible. All that was left of my unit were bodies and the strange urge to buy my groceries at Harlow’s Stores.”
—Private Shane Thomas, Rifle Security Company Pearl Harbor, 25th Infantry, US Army
Subject: Defense Technologies Experiment 157, Codename: “Brainbox”
Threat Codex Rating: Charlie-2
DTX-157, Codenamed “Brainbox,” was initially designed to perform codebreaking work during World War II and was later repurposed as a so-called “Thinking Machine” to make real time tactical and long term strategic analysis. Its creator, Dr. Theodore Montfils, was known to have almost a paternal relationship with it. Lab assistants described him talking to it at night during late shifts fine tuning its tumblers and dials. He fitted it with a harmonic resonator to allow it to talk back and to add a vocal component to the calculations it made on its viewscreen.
Following the end of the War, Defense Technologies at first attempted to repurpose Brainbox as an advertising analyzer, hoping to use it to turn a profit from burgeoning American Corporations. However, even as they reprogrammed it, they grew concerned at the continued recommendations of Brainbox, to annihilate the threats that it referred to as AN — Antagonist Nations. It calculated a high probability that the allies of the time would become the enemies of tomorrow and called for pre-emptive strikes against both military and civilian targets to render those threats “inert.” Spooked by its continued pursuit of a military strategy, against the wishes of its programmers, the Government shut down the project and ordered Brainbox to be disassembled and mothballed.
Unfortunately, during a raid by an alien threat on the San Joaquin facility near San Francisco on the Pacific Coast of the United States, Brainbox was stolen and taken undersea. What plans the aliens had for the tech they scavenged remains unknown, as no further trace of them was detected. They managed to reassemble and reprogram Brainbox to see their race as the new Primary Protagonist Nation. On its orders, they are known to have scavenged the sites of multiple key naval battles in both the Pacific and Atlantic Theaters. Conjecture among intelligence services as to what they were doing with the salvaged tech was confirmed when the first robotic beings surfaced off the coast of Hawaii and picked clean Pearl Harbor base of large amounts of salvage and military equipment. They appeared from inside retrofitted infantry barges, redesigned for submarine transport, and attacked with upgraded versions of the base’s own weapons tech. The mainstay design rolled into the armories on tank treads while other variants sprouted propellers from the top of their chassis and took to the air. Each wore a pink constructed human face, contorted into a frown. Broadcasting via the resonator fitted to each unit, DTX-157 sent a chilling message to the world: “We claim this technology for the PPN, all who resist shall be rendered inert… So, don’t delay! Get down to the Smokey Mule B-B-Q, just off State Route 1 near Dana Point, San Diego!”
The automatons made off with an arsenal of weaponry and ammunition in that raid. With it, it is assumed DTX-157 is attempting to create a new army to defeat the ANs. It seems that title encompasses all of humanity. Brainbox and its metallic minions have either exterminated or subjugated the aliens that attempted to control it and seized their undersea facilities in the North Pacific. Scout subs have also picked up one huge blip at the center of its compound.
Though no boats have returned, the imaging they returned shows something huge being built around the central core. Brainbox is building itself a body capable of wielding the firepower of a battleship with the intelligence and drive of a cold, unfeeling machine. All it needs is enough raw materials to construct enough automata to challenge the armies of the world. When its calculations indicate a high chance of victory, it will strike, wearing its contorted approximation of a human face.
Brainbox’s goal is to pacify the entire human race and repopulate the Earth with its Machine Soldiers in preparation for the inevitable wars with those below, or beyond.
The Coast Guard in San Francisco have reported sighting trundling vehicles coming ashore late at night and disgorging one or two robot scouts from their belly before submerging once again. Governor Swinburne may be appealing for calm, but he’s reached out to several government agencies looking for a discrete investigation into what the tin-men are up to, even going so far as to allow regular citizens who may help to be deputized.
Automatons: Brainbox is served by the Robotic Soldiers it constructs in its undersea base. These vary between the tank treaded Infantry Units, armed with built in machine guns and armored against attack, and the lighter Air Units, which use head mounted propellers to fly in a similar fashion to modern helicopters. Both types patrol the areas to which they are assigned, searching for signs of life, barking out orders from Brainbox and, occasionally, advertisements for Ma Slater’s latest line of soup.
Infantry and Air Units can attack at a range up to 800 feet with their chest mounted machine guns or can grasp at and strike enemies with mechanical hands.
Skills: Aim 3, Athletics 3, Close Combat 2, Technology (Basic Self-Repair) 2, Command 2
Attributes: Cunning 2, Intellect 3, Resolve 2, Might 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 4, Presence 1, Manipulation 1, Composure 2
Skills: Aim 2, Athletics 3, Close Combat 3, Technology (Basic Self-Repair) 2, Pilot (Self Flight) 2, Command 2
Attributes: Cunning 2, Intellect 2, Resolve 3, Might 3, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3, Presence 1, Manipulation 1, Composure 1
Brainbox: Brainbox has constructed a huge, metallic frame to carry it into battle. Standing on between two and eight, piston like legs, it is equipped with forward facing, long range cannon from salvaged World War II era battleships emerging from its back, and is flanked by Infantry Unit pods at the spaces between its legs along its chassis, able to fire in all directions. It strides like a chrome colossus into battle, leaving behind monstrous footprints and implanting a desire to check your tires for signs of wear this winter with its bizarre, schizophrenic vocalizations. It bears the face of a giant, unhappy man.
Brainbox has the following stats:
Skills: Aim 4, Close Combat 3, Technology (Construct and Repair Automatons) 5, Intimidation 5, Technology 5
Attributes: Cunning 4, Intellect 4, Resolve 3, Might 5, Dexterity 2, Stamina 5, Presence 1, Manipulation 3, Composure 5
(Automata) The Hive: All Units connected to Brainbox use its Social attributes as well as its Intellect of 4 as they are part of a hive mind. If the unit is disconnected from Brainbox by damaging its transceiver, the unit reverts to Intellect 0, loses all Social attributes and will simply pursue whatever its last directive was regardless of changing circumstances. The transmitter is located on the “head” of each unit and can be hit with any attack at difficulty 9.
(Automata) “Malfunction! Activate Self-Repair!”: Automata can forego a turn to roll Intellect + Technology to self-repair any damage taken to a maximum of 2 health per turn. This action cannot be taken if their Hive connection is broken.
(Brainbox) “IT’S HUGE!”: Brainbox’s construct is gargantuan and its slow, clumsy steps can crush a protagonist into pulp. Any character unfortunate enough to be caught under its stomping feet can be killed in an instant by its massive Might and hand wielded weapon have no effect against it. A character who gets close enough to the construct to be stepped on must make a successful Dexterity + Athletics roll at difficulty 6 or else take 4 unsoakable damage.
(Brainbox) Electromagnetic Burst: Brainbox can disable all electronic/electrical devices within a single mile of its location once but must then return to its hub to recharge this ability for a second use. This power nullification subsides after the scene ends, or whenever the Director deems appropriate.
(Brainbox) “Malfunction! Activate Self-Repair!”: Brainbox can forego a turn to roll Intellect + Technology to self-repair any damage taken to a maximum of 5 Health per turn.