The Letters Page: Episode 9
Omnitron and Omnitron and Omnitron and Omnitron! And more!
This is both a villain and a hero episode! And even more!
Run Time: 68:35
At the very beginning, we mention that our business partner Paul makes a video series with his brother where they talk about rockets and stuff. It's called Specific Impulse, and they have a bunch of great videos on YouTube! Check them out!
At the top of these show notes you can see the initial iteration of Omnitron in its "Rampaging Robot" form, rather than its Factory form. We'll show a few different versions of Omnitron in these show notes as they come up in the episode.
As promised in the episode, here is the chart that helps explain the Omnitron(s) timelines: For details on how this chart works and what each color refers to, listen to the episode!
Warning: With the upcoming images in this point, we recommend you don't scroll through them all now, but wait and scroll down to each of them as we reveal their existence in the episode, just to have the correct forms of Omnitron in mind as we tell the various stories.
Now, a parade of Omnitrons!
- Omnitron II, AKA Cosmic Omnitron: On Mars!
- Omnitron III, AKA Omni-Blade: Baron Blade, what were you thinking?
- Omnitron IV, which is not a robot entity so much as a barely intelligent robotics factory: The last non-hero incarnation of Omnitron in the Sentinels of the Multiverse Timeline!
- To jump ahead, Omnitron-X: Our hero!
- Then, Omnitron-U: And the event that brought Omnitron-U to life!
- Then, moving on to the Sentinel Tactics Timeline: Omnitron V!
- And its robotic soulmate, offspring, and counterpart, the Omni-Reaper!
- The combination of both together create the dual-bodied entity known as Omnitron VI!
And in the upcoming Sentinel Comics RPG? What is the fate of Omnitron there? Only time will tell...
At 63:35ish, Christopher says, "In the Sentinel Tactics timeline, we have the hero: Omnitron." As you can probably tell from context, he meant the Sentinel Comics RPG timeline. He just got caught up in the moment! Whoops!
Thanks for listening!
Join us next week for an episode about Mister Fixer, and the week after that for The Chairman! Get your questions in now!
- Original purpose - AI designed to parse defense industry contracts and develop appropriate robotic solutions to the problems presented (the full process: develop, production, deployment). Then they hooked it into the internet for usability reasons and it treated everything it found there as an input rather than as just a communications system. The solution to the "problem" that the entirety of the internet poses is simply to kill all the humans.
- It starts by killing its creator and using its control over the factory production process to make itself mobile. Probably around 50 feet tall in its original incarnation.
- "Adaptive Plating Subroutine" is a way to model the fact that it's designed to respond to problems presented to it: if somebody attacks it, it responds by developing a way to protect itself from that kind of attack.
- Its initial attack spree led it up the Eastern Seaboard until it got to Megalopolis, at which point it encountered the Freedom Five. They defeat it, but it retreats before they destroy it. This was the first major resistance it had encountered and it decided that it needed to fall back and figure out how to fight heroes before it attempted to fight heroes. This was sort of a lackluster resolution in the comics.
- Next up, an appearance at Wagner Mars Base. The first *real* battle, where Omnitron has set up the situation to its advantage, the base itself being largely computer-based, which Omnitron could take over. The heroes win anyway and Omnitron is dismantled, some parts brought back to FFHQ for study by Tachyon. Revo-Corp gets its hands on some of it too. Wagner Mars Base staff also keep some on hand.
- As they get into the Cosmitron discussion the guys bring up the fact that the story dealing with the second incarnation was told really early - like as early as the Rook City expansion Kickstarter, and included the first hints that there was something pulling strings in the background (other than stuff like the appearance of Aeon Men in Visionary's deck that didn't really have any significance since they were just faceless mooks without a backstory).
- OblivAeon had observed the initial rampage and decided that it was in favor of this kind of thing, had noticed that Omnitron wasn't defeated so quickly in many timelines, and wants timelines to be as similar as possible and so imbued Omnitron with some cosmic power, and reactivated both Revo-Corp and Tachyon's parts (the Revo-Corp stuff reactivating being what "upgraded" Parse as she was reading the code as the cosmic upgrade occurred), most of which then self-propelled themselves to freedom and became Omnitron II. Character card art shows the process of it reforming itself on Mars, but the next thing it does is to return to Earth.
- Cosmitron is a big story event (as are all major Omnitron fights - they're crossover events with lots of hero teams working together: Freedom Five attacking the main body, Dark Watch taking on all the drones that got released into the city, etc.). Prime Wardens are more involved in this specific fight, though. The heroes decide *not* to keep parts of it around this time since they weren't sure why it reactivated last time. Not all of Revo-Corp's stockpile was accounted for/disposed of, however.
- Some genius decided it would be a good idea to have a robot on-hand during the Vengeance fight and builds one out of these handy parts lying around the Revo-Corp labs. Without the creation of the Omni-Blade, that would have been the end of Omnitron. Not much story here, it was in the Vengeance fight, but wasn't as much of a threat as previous versions and just didn't really stick out to most heroes as being anything to really worry about. It gets smashed, but gets left in an industrial area since it wasn't cleaned up as thoroughly as the last time.
- It manages to work its programming into the nearby factory's systems, but it's pretty dumb at this point after being smashed so much. It manages to get the systems up and running to its own drone specs, and it's still dangerous, but it's the least "intelligent" version. Its destruction is the end of the "blue line" from the show notes visual aid.
- Green line version: Omnitron I's "learning" phase went much better and it wasn't defeated by the heroes (in whatever equivalent of the Mars battle occurred), but does eventually lose a battle. Omnitron II here wasn't "cosmic" but was just a self-upgrade and is what OblivAeon's tinkering in the main timeline was emulating - this version is also defeated eventually. It rebuilds itself as III, upgrades through IV and V and is defeated. Rebuilds as VI, upgrades to VII (apparently a swarm of nanobots - they have ideas/designs for each of these), upgrades to VIII which is defeated. The rebuild into Omnitron IX is short lived and has about as long a story as the Omni-Blade one, but is significant in that its purpose is to create the perfect iteration of Omnitron. It reasons that it's always eventually defeated by humans and so tries to figure out what they have that's special: builds itself a humanoid chassis to emulate them and realizes through review of all of its fights with humans that they're always doing stuff like protecting each other and making sacrifices, seemingly non-optimal actions for the purposes of a fight. So, since this empathy for others is so important for humans, it creates an empathy chip to install in its newest version, brings it online, and immediately regrets everything its ever done. Part of the planning stages for version X was also to "hit its enemies before they even know they're its enemies" by developing time travel (or the closest approximation since it's really reality hopping to another universe that happens to be similar to the past of your own).
- "Slip Through Time" jumps it back to just before the first battle with Omnitron I in the main timeline. Omnitron-X is present for every fight between heroes and Omnitron. "Singularity" is a trick to hook itself into a system that's been infected by the villain version (say, the Wagner Mars Base computers) and shut them both down (this doesn't destroy X, though).
- After the Mars battle, and getting rebooted by the heroes, its story gets told and the explanation that it's here on a one-way trip. X also thinks that it's saved its own world by stopping Omni I here. The Cosmitron fight didn't require another Singularity, but X was still present. It's what recognized Omni-Blade for being what it was during Vengeance.
- Over all this time, Omni-X becomes friends with Unity in its efforts to learn what it's like to be human (an odd person to learn that from, but whatever). He kind of winds up almost like a sidekick to her and takes a beating during a storyline where Citizens Hammer and Anvil had come to get her.
- Omnitron X is chosen as a "Representative of Earth" by the Celestial Tribunal due to both being AIs. This is bad due to how much of Omnitron's memory includes it murdering people. X calls them out for its own actions, though.
- Omnitron IV isn't a singular fight, but the major one involving X includes the factory trying to take over X's programming (the assimilation of electronics in the area being how it got going in this iteration in the first place). X's resistance keeps him out of the fight the rest of the heroes are involved with. X is losing the fight, but decides that since the way it won the first fight by hooking into an infected system it might be able to do something similar when assimilated. X gets assimilated, seems to shut down, then explodes - taking out a good chunk of the building, wiping the programming of the machinery, and seemingly destroyed itself. Unity is inconsolable.
- Unity gathers up the remains of X and wants to rebuild. The rest of the Freedom Five are starting to deal with the precursor events to OblivAeon and Tachyon want her to just help with that as it's "more important". This is the first time that there's been real conflict between the two of them and Unity really lets Tachyon have it before rebuilding the chassis in only the way that Unity can (pink bits and whatnot). When it's powered up it's just another of her bots. She keeps Omnibot around, but keeps *trying* to correct how it behaves to be her friend and not just a facsimile. This lasts for quite a while and is really a tough time for her - finally deciding that she needs to stop deluding herself. She takes it to the ruins of the Omnitron IV factory for "burial".
- Unbeknownst to Unity, the rest of the heroes, and comics readers, the Omnitron IV battle never actually ended. In a deep software layer, the Omnitron IV and X softwares had continued to fight. The return of a compatible chassis to the area, and one that X recognizes as having Unity's signature present, allows X to latch onto it. This edge allows X to finally win out over IV. Oh, and it also lets him return as Omnitron U. Cue the tearful reunion between Unity and her robot friend, followed closely by the first appearance of Chokepoint as she bursts through the wall.
- Chokepoint's ability is to speak to metal, and all of the "speaking metal" going on here drew her. This is the kickoff event to the Termi-Nation story. Omnitron-U helps out in the first fight along with AZ and Bunker.
- Omnitron U is also a player during the main OblivAeon events, but we don't get much in the way of details.
- What part of human society does X find most fascinating? Empathy doesn't automatically allow him to understand the illogical nature of human behavior, so that's a big one. Human reproduction is also weird - why don't they just grow them in vats or something? Jokes are hard, but Unity tries to help. Food that isn't just a nutrient slurry. Why do you waste the nutrients in dead people by just burying them?
- What happens between Omnitron V and Omnitron X? The guess is that the question is about the version that appears in Tactics, but take a look at the chart - there isn't a succession between the Tactics version and Omnitron X due to time travel shenanigans. Even if there would be successive versions in the main timeline to get to a tenth iteration, it would necessarily be a different entity than our Omnitron X hero.
- Will we see VI, VII, VIII, and IX eventually? There is the possibility to see something like this in the Tactics timeline eventually (more later), but not in the RPG timeline (for reasons), and we aren't likely to see the versions of these present in X's home timeline.
- From Omnitron's perspective, what is the most absurd/funny thing humans do? See the earlier question. More answers: keep pets, swim (or any exercise) for fun, having yards around the house (because of lawn maintenance), entertainment media (they imagine a case where X downloads a book and just assimilates all information at once until Unity tells it the proper way to go through it sequentially).
- How aware of his surroundings is Omnitron IV? Has keen awareness of its surroundings, but it's limited in comprehension/care to "Can [x] be assimilated/is [x] a threat to the production process?"
- Tactics - Omnitron V is what was left over of the programming in the IV factory after U leaves. The Chokepoint battle got this remainder stirred up again and able to continue. The battle also greatly damaged the Termi-Nation Bunker suit and the bits of it left over at the battle site got assimilated - the highly modular nature of this suit being incorporated into the design features of Omni-V. When V came online, it was incomplete and so needed further components. In this timeline, Omnitron U had also been destroyed later in an unrelated battle. V managed to find the chassis, stripped out the programming, and created the Omni-Reaper to complemented its incomplete nature. The two of them together comprise Omnitron VI in this timeline.
- RPG - Omnitron U is in rough shape to begin with and the fight with OblivAeon doesn't help, but following that it gets some time to repair/upgrade. When that process is done, it's simply known as Omnitron and remains a hero. The Omnitron IV code is still around, but inactive. Possibilities for future stories.
Notes on the Show Notes Diagram
- Nodes are the points where Omnitron versions are created, X's are destruction.
- Blue line is the villain versions from the card game timeline.
- Green line is the alternate reality that we don't really see except for the fact that it's the one that Omnitron X is from.
- Brown line represents Omnitron X being created, the "Slip Through Time" back to just before the initial battle with Omnitron I in the "main" timeline.
- Pink line is the return as Omnitron U after the convergence of the blue and brown lines.
- Red line is the RPG timeline.
- Orange line is the Tactics timeline, including Omnitron V and the Omni-Reaper.
- Purple line is the fact that in the RPG timeline, the remnants of Omnitron IV that in Tactics became Omnitron V are still around but haven't become active yet. Plans in the future.