|The Bitten Apple|
|IC Date:||13 August 2219|
|RL Date:||13 August 2006|
Fire. Fire from the skies. Fire from the ground. Fire from everywhere.
It was worse than anyone could have possibly envisioned. The Genocide Virus, as the Neo Arcadians called it, was death for Reploids. Infection was fatal within 24 hours. The pulse weapons that discharged it caused death on contact. It was tearing through the civilian population, and eventually it would mutate to become communicable through the Internet. At that point, the scale of the death would magnify beyond the sum of all their fears. Genocide.
Omega was their final insult. Constructed by Joseph Weil with the genetic technology of Ciel Mallory, it contained genetic information from among the most powerful individuals on Earth. It was a manufactured thing, a child with the power of a titan. And, in a sort of poetic justice, this creature took on the form of Zero. Zero, the maker of nightmares; Zero, the first true monster made by Albert Wily, stolen from Thomas Light, was now the undoing of the race that was his father’s dark legacy.
The Neo Arcadians murdered their way across the world once their technology was in place. They struck the Reploid population centers first. Able City. Giga City. Fast reactions from the Red Cross and Repliforce kept the death toll from becoming much worse than it could have been. Many were killed all the same. There just were not enough medics, not enough decontamination chambers, not enough time.
The campaign continued relentlessly. The Pantheon forces struck with the ferocity of zealots. Some called it a Crusade and died with visions of a future world, cleansed of robots, in their minds. But even as they fought and died, the zeal with which they fought continued. They did not pay any mind to the resources they desperately expended, as they thought their victory was all but assured. By the close of the month, the Reploids would be decimated, and easy prey for those Pantheon who remained.
Fear ran through the halls of power. The United Nations had been directly struck by the Pantheon forces in the seat of its authority. Men who were once complacent were now struck with fear. Neo Arcadia would not restrict itself to merely picking off Reploids, but would challenge the survival of any government who harbored them.
They would not stop there. With military superiority assured by the removal of their largest military asset, Neo Arcadia’s expansionist desires would be impossible to check. San Angeles was a warning the world should have heeded more strongly. Human armies were still being raised and could not stop an ascendant Neo Arcadia, fueled with conscripts from conquered lands. Visions of Pantheon troops in every world capital chilled the blood of the powerful.
Neo Arcadia had to be stopped. The luxury of leaving matters solely in the hands of Repliforce or the Maverick Hunters had ended. Desperate men began to seek answers from anywhere they could find them. While they grappled with just how far they were willing to go to assure their own survival, a counteroffensive was already under way. A blackguard would arise from an unexpected place to aid the Reploids of the world in their desperate fight for survival.
3. Breaking Benjamin - Blow Me Away - So Cold