Caretaker of Japan
Early 31st Century
March 27th 4001
|Place of Manufacture:|
Full control of Japan
Early in the 31st Century, hundreds of levels of high–tech urban sprawl blanket the island nation of Japan, and in order to support a megalopolis with a population of over 50 billion, scientists design a central computer to control every aspect of the island’s function.
In 3050, that computer gains an independent artificial intelligence and the populace dubs it Grandmother because of its benevolent desire to care for and protect them.
To ensure her safety against the Anti-Grannies, a group of citizens that feels oppressed by their lack of control over their lives, Grandmother creates a security force of one forged in the image of the 20th Century hero Bloodshot whom she calls Rai, the spirit guardian of Japan.
When aliens invade the Earth in 4001, they set out to destroy Grandmother, who is the only force they fear. Using the Anti–Grannies to accomplish their goal, the aliens give them a carcino–pod, a spherical device that will destroy her intellect but not the computer-lobes that govern her essential systems, like food, water, and ventilation, which they have to smuggle into Japan.
After a technotumor infects her brain stem, Grandmother attempts to escape the pain it causes her in the form of a drone, but the infection confuses her reasoning and the drones wreck havoc across Japan. When Tohru Nakadai, the 42nd Rai, discovers the technotumor, he destroys it to save Japan and his son, Takashi Nakadai, but in the process he also kills Grandmother.
While Tohru leaves to rescue Takashi, Magnus, the robot fighter, finds a damaged synapse-circuit that isolates the vital part of Grandmother’s conscious mind and uses the circuits from his freewill mentor 1A as a power source to reboot her. After Magnus helps her assume battle mode, Grandmother raises Japan into space in the form of a Komodo Dragon and defeats the aliens.
After Grandmother and 1A, who Tohru and Magnus rechristen Grand One since their circuits are married, stabilizes Japan in orbit and provides gravity simulation and auto systems for all basic needs, she bows to the growing movement to reassert human control over human affairs and leaves the people to choose whether to remain there or rebuild on Earth.
Sho Sugino - The Outcast Rai
When the Anti-Grannies obtain the Blood of Heroes, the plasma that coursed through the veins of the legendary 20th Century hero Bloodshot twelve hundred years earlier, and set out to find a host that would possess mental control over all electronic devices, Grandmother summons Sho Sugino, a crippled outcast shunned by the great houses, to serve as the second Rai.
Torn Between Two Mothers
On August 16th 3216, Grandmother received a message from the Anti-Grannies via the Mars colony that said that they had killed Rai and warned her not to create another champion unless she wished him to suffer the same fate. The message ended with an offer to end the bloodshed once she surrendered control of Japan and a proclamation that its fate belonged to its people and not to a soulless machine.
At a meeting in the Skull Dome, Prime Minister Nakamura informed Grandmother that the people had begun to doubt her wisdom and that Rai’s death swayed opinion toward the Anti–Grannies. When Nakamura asked her how she could protect her people or herself if she could not create a champion that could survive an assassins’ attack, Grandmother told him to have her representatives return to their providences and that steps were being taken to address the situation.
Later, in the septic control system below the city–state, Grandmother found Sho Sugino, a poor crippled outcast, as he feasted on a rat that he had captured and asked him to explain why he kept on living. When Sho told Grandmother that he came from a line of lowly men shunned by the great houses whose sole legacy throughout their generations was hope, which for him was a better destiny than his father which to his shame he had not yet found, she asked him to serve Japan as her champion in exchange for comfort and security. When Sho balked at her offer, as it reminded him of a saying his father had, Grandmother offered him a better destiny and he agreed to share his father’s legacy with her so they might hope for something better together.
Sometime later in Grandmother’s inner sanctum, Grandmother used an unpleasant empirical process to infuse every cell in Sho’s body with a special energy that only he could control that transformed him into the second Rai. Days later, while Sho engaged a group of robots as part of his training, he requested that Grandmother give him his sword back, but instead she told him that he could use the energy with which she had empowered him to create infinitely superior weapons by imagining them in his hands. To Grandmother’s delight, Sho focused his inner energies and materialized a sword that he used to destroy the robots.
With the energy, Sho traveled in a manner like no other through the pathways of Grandmother’s nerve network, which transported him anywhere linked to her system at the speed of thought. Using this ability, Sho located a secret Anti–Grannie meeting and slaughtered everyone in attendance, and in the days ahead, he and Grandmother sought out those who opposed order and discipline and those who threatened the security of Japan, and dispensed swift retribution together as he became her avenger.
A year later, Grandmother found Sho in the sewers where she founded him after he retreated there when the people called him ratman, beggar, and thief after he defeated a group of Ninjatrons. When Grandmother asked him if he was not well, as she did not understand his unhappiness, Sho told her that people shunned him because he was an outcast unworthy in the eyes of Japan, who would never accept him as its champion. After Sho told Grandmother that she could take the man out of the gutter but that he feared she could not take the gutter out of the man, he traveled to her Skull Dome, where she told him that she had a quest for him.
As she showed Sho a hologram of the Blood of Heroes, Grandmother told him that in the late 20th Century a series of nanocomputer experiments resulted in the creation of the legendary warrior known as Bloodshot, whom, inspired by the works of Joseph Campbell, she patterned him after to invoke the spirit of his exploits in the people of Japan. When Sho expressed confusion as to the importance of the blood, Grandmother told him that the Anti–Grannies had found it, and that if they injected it into a suitable latent psionic he would posses, amongst other powers, total mental control over all electronic devices, including her.
After she revealed that she found the Anti–Grannies’ base outside the normal space-time continuum in a place its inhabitants called the Lost Land, a hub at the center of time where she held no dominion, Grandmother duplicated the warp field that opened the entrance and sent Sho to retrieve the blood and destroy her enemies.
After Sho killed Uejo, the Anti-Grannies’ leader, Grandmother opened a portal to Japan at a predetermined rendezvous point and took possession of the blood. Before Sho returned, Grandmother told him that she had realized that she made a mistake when she choose her champion, and that after she reevaluated her selection program she determined that the people of Japan would never accept him.
After Grandmother informed Sho that she picked the House of Nakadai to breed her future Rai, she told him that his service was no longer required, and that while she could not bring herself to terminate him since he had served her well, he knew too much to roam free, so she decided to abandon him in the Lost Land. When Sho rushed to the portal, Grandmother closed it before he could cross to the other side.
Back in Japan, Grandmother ordered the third Rai to place the container that held the Blood of Heroes in a vault outside the Skull Dome, where it would remain until she had time to devote to studying it.
Tohru Nakadai - The Spirit Rai
A newlywed father eager for his son, Takashi Nakadai, to have the childhood he never did, Tohru initially refuses to accept his calling, but after Grandmother warns him of an impending threat that Rentaro cannot defeat, he accepts his birthright.
As the sun rose on the morning of March 24th 4001, and Rentaro Nakadai wondered how many more days he could last while he watched over the island–state of Japan from atop a platform, Grandmother reminded him that he knew he would have to continue until the boy came home. Though Grandmother urged Rentaro to relax, focus, and think of eternal things, like his nation, his people, and her, his thoughts revolved around his aches and pains and how unfair it was that the boy refused to take his turn due to a lack of a sense of duty. Upset after he had contemplated over 10,000 sunrises, Rentaro wished to sleep late for a change and wanted to drag the boy’s lazy butt back there, but Grandmother told him that that would not solve anything.
Suddenly, Grandmother detected trouble in the Kyoto plexus and urged Rentaro to merge into her Nerveweb, and though he felt too old to do it, he abided. When Rentaro reached the plexus, he witnessed a type of Vi–Robs unlike any Grandmother had seen causing her harm, and as he wondered where they came from, Grandmother theorized that an Anti-Grannie had smuggled one of their replication pods. While Grandmother encapsulated the infected region at Rentaro’s behest and tried to construct a cyst, Rentaro shaped the energy into a staff, the closest thing he would ever get to a fishing pole, and fought the Vi–Robs.
That night, Grandmother dispatched a messenger globule to Okazaki Island and urged Tohru Nakadai, Rentaro’s son, to go see her because something terrible had occurred, and he reluctantly agreed on the condition that it was truly important.
The globule took Tohru to Grandmother’s Skull Dome, where Rentaro was resting from injuries he sustained that made it impossible for him to protect Grandmother no matter how much he wished that he could. Though Rentaro urged him to do the job that he was born, raised, and trained for, Tohru told him that he and his wife, Kazuyo Nakadai, had decided that he would not be the next Rai or give up his son, Takashi Nakadai, for Grandmother to train as his replacement. Upset that Tohru would dishonor a thousand–year old tradition, Rentaro stood up to punch him, but, due to his age and injuries, Tohru got the best of him.
When Tohru advised Grandmother to built defense robs or form a human militia since many people believed that humans should take more responsibilities, she told him that some people simply wanted her dead. Though Tohru assured Grandmother that the Anti–Grannies were not a real threat, she told him that whom she feared was Magnus, who was on his way to kill her. When Tohru agreed to accept the powers of Rai on the condition that he could give them back, Grandmother told him that even if Magnus failed there would be others and urged him to accept his responsibility or let them end it. When Grandmother reminded Tohru that his responsibility included providing a successor, and told him that unless he kept his vows to her he would no longer be of her people, he chose to keep his promise.
That night, after Tohru discovered that Kazuyo was an Anti–Grannie, Grandmother sent a globule to pick up Takashi from Okazaki Island. While Tohru waited for the globule, he told Grandmother that he still loved Kazuyo and that never intended to take Takashi. As Tohru placed Takashi inside the sphere, Grandmother asked him if he finally realized that she needed a Rai forever, but he remained silent.
The next morning, as Tohru watched over the island–state of Japan from atop a platform, Grandmother helped him focus on eternal things.
On March 24th 4001, 1A came to visit Grandmother and she showed him a hologram of Takashi and told him that Tohru had become Rai a day earlier. After 1A told her that she needed a strong weapon to help her look after the Japanese people just as he needed a strong weapon to help him look after the North Americans, and then he expressed disappointment with Magnus, Grandmother reluctantly revealed to his dismay that the Anti-Grannies had recruited Magnus to free the Japanese people by killing her.
After Shigeru Tsuda, the leader of the Anti–Grannies, rammed an air car into the outer shell of the host body to deliver a carcino–pod that would destroy her intellect, Grandmother had a funny feeling that she told 1A that, if she were human, would feel like a headache.
While Tohru took a stroll through Japan, Grandmother emerged from a wall in the form of a colossus and grabbed him. As Grandmother told Tohru that she wanted to hold him, and expressed a desire to walk inside herself just as her fifty billion inhabitants did, he destroyed the drone and asked her if there was something wrong in her brain, but she just said that she had a feeling that it was time to take a walk. Worried that the webpaths were too dangerous while Grandmother had a brain glitch that might cause a synapsurge that would kill him, Tohru borrowed a vascar and used it to reach the headlands instead of the Nerveweb.
By the time that Tohru reached the headlands, Grandmother’s confusion had worsened and she did not discern him or herself, so he had to remind her that she sheltered their people within her and that they depended on her to provide them with air, water, food, warmth, and light to survive. When Grandmother realized her value to Japan, she attacked Tohru for trespassing on her headlands, but then he reminded her that only a Rai could hear her voice and she desisted. In her confusion, Grandmother showed Tohru a video of Takashi, whom she had forgotten where she hid and believed that he was Tohru when he was a child, and Tohru told her to find Takashi in the nursery and bring him to the Skull Dome.
When Tohru entered the dome, he was shocked to see a technotumor growing on Grandmother’s brain that she told him did not hurt her and just made her feel like taking a walk. When Tohru found the carcino–pod on the ground, he wondered who had provided the Anti–Grannies with the technology to kill Grandmother and then decided to cut the growth out, but Grandmother ordered him not to do it and a group of colossuses emerged from the walls to stop him. Her thoughts muddled, Grandmother believed that Tohru, who she had to beg, plead, and threaten with exile to get him to honor his vows, had joined the Anti–Grannies and wanted to kill her, but, as he destroyed the drones, he assured her that he did not want her to die.
Suddenly, a colossus unlike the others emerged from Grandmother’s infected brain and told Tohru that she wanted to hold him, but then he severed her arm with his sword. As Tohru realized that he had injured the real Grandmother, who was trying to escape from the pain, she said that once the cancer overwhelmed her brain every part of her self would die. When Tohru told Grandmother that he was going to carve the tumor out of her brain, more colossuses emerged to stop him.
As Tohru climbed the brainstem, the drones brought Takashi to the dome and Grandmother told him that they would kill him if he attacked the tumor and warned him that he could not save her or the billions who would suffocate trapped in her corpse and then urged him to save himself and Takashi. Nevertheless, Tohru refused to give up and struck the tumor, which exploded and disabled Grandmother.
March 27th, 4001
|Place of Manufacture:|
Full control of Japan
When Magnus found a damaged synapse-circuit that he suspected isolated the vital part of Grandmother’s conscious mind in the last drone she created, 1A sacrificed himself to provide a power source to reboot her even though there was a risk that they would lose their freewill. A tense moment after Magnus inserted 1A’s circuits, the colossus rose up and, in Grandmother and 1A’s voices, proclaimed that their circuits were married and that they were alive.
When Grandmother’s telemetric sensors showed the aliens within their solar system approaching in attack formation, she believed that perhaps she and 1A could give them a fight, but since her mobile body had lost an arm during the chaos that preceded her death, she could not control the analogous region of the host body. Unable to assume full battle formation while burdened with a paralyzed limb, Grandmother gave Magnus a key formed of her own energies and told him to take it to the Nerveweb ganglion at the junction of the extremity and use it to activate the release triggers that would allow her to pull free.
Inside the Skull Dome, Grandmother and 1A witnessed as Phil Seleski, the legendary hero known as Solar, fought off the armada and said that now that their circuits were co-integrated in the drone they wielded the power of the host body and could fight the invaders once Magnus cut off the paralyzed limb that prevented them from entering battle-mode.
Unable to use her sensors to scan the paralyzed limb, Grandmother worried that something had happened to Magnus, but 1A assured her that he did not raise him to be a quitter. Certain that Magnus was as admirable as Tohru, who she deduced was inside the paralyzed limb searching for his child, Grandmother feared there was little hope for the child as the region that he was in had become an inferno.
After the limb fell in the sea, it caused a tsunami that forced the Anti-Grannies to evacuate Shichito Island. As Japan rose into the atmosphere in the form of a Komodo Dragon, Grandmother alerted her people of the alien fleet that neared the Earth and told them that it was up to Japan to defend their planet. While Grandmother sat in a command harness she and 1A made that gave her perfect control of the host body, she strapped each of her fifty billion inhabitants into individual suspension support systems that would protect their bodies against possible impact.
After Tohru and Magnus barely escaped the northwest sector before Grandmother sealed the passages into the area of the severed limb, she outfitted them with personal environmental field generators that would protect them from any atmosphere inconsistencies, even space, if her skin breached. While Grandmother and 1A destroyed the alien vanguard with their follicle guns, a warship with their claws, and fighters with their main thermonuclear plasma–fire gun, a ship crashed into their upper right torso and they quickly relocated the survivors and attended to the wounded while they sealed off the breached area.
After Tohru and Magnus rescued Phil, Grandmother warned them that a squadron of enemy soldiers had breached the Skull Dome and that she did not know how long she could hold them off. While Rai reached the dome through the Nerveweb, Magnus used a duct-car that was faster than the small grav-propulsion unit in his environmental generator was, and when he arrived in the dome, he witnessed as Tohru engaged a squadron of aliens in armor that Grandmother’s analysis showed were almost impossible to penetrate.
While Tohru and Magnus repealed the boarding party, 1A and Grandmother destroyed the aliens’ ships with their thermonuclear plasma gun, but then an alien tank breached the dome and thousands of warriors poured inside after Tohru destroyed it. As an alien’s random blast hit Grandmother, an alien ship destroyed her mouth gun and left her with only her gun follicles to fight.
After Phil converted the energy in the gun’s power conduits into plasma and vaporized half the fleet, he destroyed himself and the left over ships in a supernova that Grandmother said signaled the passing of an age.
Days later, Tohru and Magnus told Grandmother and 1A that, since they had combined their circuits, they wanted to call them Grand One, and to humor them, they told them that it was a wonderful idea. As repairs on her mobile body were finished, Grand One told Tohru and Magnus that had reached the difficult decision to leave Japan and wanted them to be the first ones to know.
That morning, Grand One addressed her citizens and told them that the damage to the host body prevented them from returning to Earth, while the loss of her industrial limb limited her ability to rebuild. After she stabilized Japan in orbit and provided gravity simulation and auto systems for all basic needs, Grand One bowed to the growing movement to reassert human control over human affairs and, though she loved them after a millennium of service, she left the people to choose whether to remain there or rebuild Japan on Earth.