In the late 21st century, pollution has contaminated the Earth. Once flourishing species have become extinct, natural waters stained black, and humanity faced catastrophe at a scale unheard of even in biblical tales. Renowned scientists from across the globe formed an organization, United Earth (UE), to pool their efforts toward saving the planet from destruction. Governments from around the world collectively contributed trillions to UE, funding its expensive and highly experimental research. After a myriad of failed projects, UE invested its resources in an innovative concept devised by Dr. Julia Carson, known as Deep Space Reprocessing (DSR). DSR required the creation of a highly advanced space station that could stockpile waste and over time convert it into organic materials through abiogenesis, a process that would essentially recycle the planet and transform it into a more habitable state. After numerous prototypes, the first DSR station launched and was set to orbit the Earth in a satellite cluster aptly named the Junk Sector.
In years subsequent to the station’s launch, large portions of the Earth’s surface had successfully begun the rejuvenation process – water was no longer tinted black, grass began to grow, and animal population counts were on the rise. Estimates of the project’s development, as calculated by the Chairman of UE, projected that within two generations water would be clean enough to consume directly from springs and rivers, and the number of pollution related deaths would decrease by nearly 75%. After years of facing extinction, humans finally had their first glimpse of a brighter future.
Days following the Chairman’s announcement, the station’s equipment detected a mysterious crystalline structure, traveling toward the Junk Sector at high speed. Calculations of the structure’s trajectory indicated that it would most likely collide with the station and that there was not enough time to move out of its path. Those aboard the station were advised to brace for impact and prepare for the worst. Tensions on the station ran high, but those on Earth ran higher. The station had become a beacon of hope for humanity; humanity’s fate tied to its success.
As the structure approached the station, it emitted a highly fluorescent gas. As the two objects collided, the station filled with the luminous gas and within a matter of seconds its systems were offline. Minutes seemed like hours to UE HQ, which was frantically trying to regain contact with the station. Nearly half an hour after colliding with the crystalline structure, the station’s systems began to come back online. Damage reports sent to UE HQ showed little more than cosmetic damage, yet communication operators were unable to establish contact with members the ship’s crew.
After giving up on reestablishing contact with the station, the Chairman called for the creation of a Special Astronaut Squadron (SAS) tasked with investigating the strange occurrences involving the space station and reporting back to HQ. The SAS leader was to be none other than Dr. Julia Carson, herself – Chief Planetary Engineer and Designer behind the DSR project. The SAS acquired their objectives and departed a mere 48 hours after HQ lost contact with the station.
When Dr. Carson and her team reached the station, it was clear the damage reports sent to HQ were inaccurate. Although the damage done to the station was not enough to render it inoperable, it needed more than its fair share of repairs. As the SAS toured the ship, collecting samples of the fluorescent gas and debris left behind by the crystalline structure, a robot, created to recycle the waste aboard the state, attacked an unsuspecting member, fatally wounding him. Horrified, Dr. Carson and the remaining members of the team made their way to the station’s armory and sent out a distress call to UE HQ, along with data from the gas samples they collected.
Days later, UE HQ received a copy of the SAS transmission and began producing small amounts of it for testing. The research teams worked day and night trying to figure out how the gas affected the robots, but the closest they came was stumbling across a few materials immune to the gas. Although it did not seem like finding the materials mattered much, as time passed an immediate solution was needed to combat luminous gas researchers coined zytron. The answer was to create a zytron-immune robot more technically advanced than any robot UE had ever created. The robot would need to excel at combat and have a name akin to its strength and brutal efficiency – Ares.