Background Storyline

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Introduction

Scarlet Blade takes place on a future version of Earth after humanity was annihilated by alien attackers. Now, however, humanity's last hope arrives in the form of cloned super-soldiers known as the Arkana. This page collects various elements of background lore that have been released over time, some of which was written in-character. Please note that only official story information should be added to this page.

Background Storyline Part 1: The Narak Invasion

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Genesis Corp Company Archives
Sr. Researcher John Maynard
Ark Project Notes, 05/19

The Narak struck without warning. They opened a gateway from God knows where, and the invasion began shortly after. No attempts at communication have been accepted. No terms were offered.

For the first few days, all I could think about was how the movies got it wrong. Earth was finally under attack, and there was no crack squad of commandos there to save the day. There was no hive mind to destroy. No mothership to blow up. It turns out wars aren’t won by One Man With Nothing Left To Lose. They’re won by armies. And the Narak have an army like we’ve never seen.

As of today, every nation on earth has united to face the alien threat. Each military has been armed with the best its government has to offer. Carriers, guided missiles, assault drones – they might as well have been bows and arrows. The Narak’s monsters are unstoppable, and their weapons tear through our defenses like they aren’t even there. There are too many dead to bury.

Some of the team still doesn’t understand. ****, maybe they just don’t want to. Even if there was a point to it, I’m not sure I’d have the heart to convince them.

Every soldier ripped apart, every city turned to rubble, every orphaned child, makes our work here that much more important. Earth’s leaders are getting desperate. At this rate, it won’t be long before they resort to nuclear weapons. And if we don’t finish the Ark in time, all those people will have died for nothing.

The fate of this species rests on our shoulders.

Humanity must survive.


Background Storyline Part 2: Desperate Measures

Genesis Corp Company Archives
Sr. Researcher John Maynard
Ark Project Notes, 05/23

When they dropped the first nuke, what was left of the world held its breath. It’s disgusting, but for a brief moment I had hope. We all did. If a nuclear show of force had been enough to finally turn back the Narak, we might’ve stood a chance. Broken as we were, we could’ve recovered, rebuilt. But they kept coming. They were more cautious, now – they spread their forces to minimize the losses from another strike – but the invasion hadn’t stopped. We’d barely even slowed it down.

Two days later, all **** broke loose. I don’t know which government made the call, but the decision was obvious: If humanity was going down, we were taking the Narak with us. Mushroom clouds bloomed in every hemisphere, as a combination of nuclear and biological weapons were unleashed upon the enemy regardless of civilian casualties. Friend and foe alike were turned to ash.

It was both our final attack, and the ultimate sign of our defeat. Even if we succeed in destroying the Narak forces on Earth, we’ve doomed our planet to nuclear winter. Soon, massive clouds of radioactive debris will enter the atmosphere, fueled by the firestorms that used to be our cities. Sunlight will be reduced by up to 90 percent. The global temperature will drop dramatically. Within weeks, sustained organic life will become nearly impossible.

And then there’s the virus.

Word gets around, even with all the security. It was supposed to be our ultimate weapon. A beauty of Genesis Corp technology. An engineered plague that would target the Narak, and hopefully travel back with them to infect their home planet. But it wasn’t ready. We could never capture enough subjects for proper testing, and the project was put on hold. The risk to the human population was deemed “catastrophic.”

I guess they figured that doesn’t matter, now.

This lab wasn’t made to withstand a biological attack. According to our scans, most of the staff is already infected, myself included. I assume the same holds true for any poor souls still trapped outside. We can only pray that however this virus works, it doesn’t affect the cloning process. All that matters now is completing the Ark before we run out of time – or worse, we’re discovered.

We’re trapped on a dying planet, infected by an unknown plague, and hunted by an unstoppable army. I’ll admit, we didn’t expect the aliens; I don’t think anyone’s going to blame us there. But there’s no doubt we’re facing a full-blown extinction event.

We’ve prepared for this.

This is what the Ark was made for.


Background Storyline Part 3: The Ark

Genesis Corp Company Archives
Sr. Researcher John Maynard
Ark Project Notes, 05/25

As soon as adult cloning became viable, any government worth a **** began looking into the ultimate fail-safe device. We had good reason to. Even before the Narak, we were in trouble: environmental disasters, diminishing natural resources, holy wars – the world’s been on the brink for decades. And with the constant threat of nuclear annihilation, we knew we’d need a way out. A way for humanity to recover from even the worst catastrophe. Even extinction.

And so, three years ago, Genesis Corp was contracted to begin the Ark Project.

At its core, it’s a time-delayed, fully-automated cloning facility. That way, if the unthinkable ever occurred, we could at least die knowing that our story had not truly ended. When the dust finally settled and the world was habitable again, the Ark would activate. It would produce enough genetically diverse human beings to create a stable breeding population, and provide them with the rudimentary care and education they would need to recolonize the earth.

But for the Ark to work, it is imperative that the Narak never find it. Already, their forces have proven frighteningly efficient at tracking down human survivors. With this in mind, every aspect of the Ark has been designed to prevent its discovery; there will be no living caretakers, and no active machinery beyond the absolute essentials. It will remain hidden, inoperative, and undetectable. Dormant, miles beneath the surface, until the world is ready for our return.

And return we shall. Because now, the Ark’s children won’t just have to reclaim the earth – they’ll have to avenge it.

We’ve done our best to prepare them for the war they’ll face. Along with the Ark itself, the installation will contain a new and deadly arsenal. While we race to complete the cloning device, others have been developing cutting-edge weaponry based on the Narak’s superior technology. Thanks to their help, when the Ark activates, so too will its munitions plant.

Of course, even these new weapons may not be enough. No normal human can stand toe-to-toe with a Narak and live; our defeat has proven that. But if our work here is successful, they won’t have to.

Humanity will rise again. And the Arkana will be their path to victory.


Background Storyline Part 4: The Arkana

Genesis Corp Company Archives
Sr. Researcher John Maynard
Ark Project Notes, 05/26

The Ark was never meant for war. Like most things, it started with the best of intentions: to save us from ourselves. But when the Narak arrived, we knew that wouldn’t be enough. If humanity was to survive, it would need more than just weapons. It would need the champions to wield them.

We call them the Arkana. They are a series of genetically engineered, technologically-augmented super-soldiers. And they are the best chance humanity has of defeating the Narak.

The idea is nothing new; we’d seen muscle-bound hulks coming out of black market labs for years now. But we couldn’t afford to be so narrow-minded. We’d need strength, agility, and speed, yes – but also adaptability. Synergy. Self-sacrifice. When the Ark’s Neo-Humans finally return to the surface, there’s no telling what they’ll find. The Arkana will have to protect them from anyone, and anything, that threatens their survival.

Early testing showed that female subjects respond better to our process than males. Subtle genetic and neurological differences make them ideal for our planned modifications, as well as more receptive to Genesis Corp implants. To hedge our bets against a greater range of potential threats, we created six distinct archetypes. Each was designed to master a different weapon, and paired with a powerful battle Mech to complement their skills.

The Punisher: A devastating marksman and master of the heavy rifle. Her Mech, Ishtar, combines the precision of a sniper with the firepower of a Narak warship.

The Sentinel: An agile, cunning raider wielding dual pistols. The Kumari Mech was specifically designed to capitalize on her smaller stature, granting increased maneuverability and devastating hit-and-run potential.

The Whipper: The Arkana’s crowd-combat specialist, she uses her bladed whip to damage and disable multiple opponents at a time. The Athena Mech’s energy whip compounds her destructive potential, allowing her to decimate swaths of enemies with a single blow.

The Medic: The lynchpin of every Arkana squad, the Medic’s modified launcher delivers an array of chemical and biological payloads. This allows her to heal and augment her allies, or unleash poisonous chaos amongst her foes. Her Mech, Kali, grants her the speed and power she needs to turn the tide of any battle.

The Defender: An expert swordsman, the Defender was designed to withstand an incredible amount of physical punishment. Inside the heavily-armored Freyja Mech, she becomes a veritable juggernaut, using her enhanced strength to cleave through foes with reckless abandon.

The Shadow Walker: A covert assassin, equipped with deadly hand blades. Her Epona Mech utilizes a radically altered design, with four nimble legs to grant both silent movement and lethal bursts of speed.

Like the Neo-Humans they’re meant to protect, the Arkana are still clones, created by the Ark… but that’s where the similarities end. Each archetype undergoes a unique formative process: as they’re grown they are altered, augmented, and molded into living weapons. In addition to their modified genetics, the Arkana are equipped with a variety of synthetic enhancements. Communications uplinks, skeletal plating, and medical injection ports are just the beginning. A complex network of neural implants allows them to command their Mechs at the speed of thought. Subconscious military AI and training programs grant them more battle experience than most veterans – and that’s before they ever see the field. By the time an Arkana picks up her first weapon, it feels as natural as breathing.

They are, quite literally, born to kill.


Background Storyline Part 5: The Price of Survival

Genesis Corp Company Archives
Sr. Director John Maynard
Ark Project Notes, 05/29

I ordered a small batch of Arkana to be cloned as soon as the Ark was ready. We're not mass-producing them, of course – outnumbered and unarmed, on a lifeless planet? What would be the point? – but we needed to be certain that the process worked.

The results were... unexpected, to say the least.

It's hard to explain. We don't even have the tools to measure it, let alone discern its cause. But it appears that the Arkana can... affect... their surroundings in a way we don't fully understand. Their weapons strike with more force than pure physics would indicate. Their reaction times are impossibly fast. Even incoming threats are somehow buffered, dissipating a portion of their energy before actual impact.

We gave one of the Arkana limited access to our historical files. According to her, the best word we have for this unseen energy is “chakra.” And by channeling it, the Arkana can do more than we ever dreamed.

Frankly, it’s all a little terrifying.

None of us wanted to admit it, but every one of us could see the truth. The Arkana were meant to protect humanity, not replace it. But in our zeal to create mankind’s ultimate defender, we had made something just as alien as the Narak themselves. The Arkana’s strange new abilities only forced to the surface a fear that had been gnawing at our minds from the beginning:

When the time comes, what assurance did we have that the Arkana would be loyal to their creators?

The answer came in the form of a final set of neural implants. Designed to link an Arkana to a human commander, this connection will serve a dual purpose.

Every communication, every impulse, that the Arkana receives is also felt by her commander. But a commander is more than a mere observer. Removed from the heat of battle, the Arkana’s human counterpart can scan for enemy forces, prioritize targets, and offer vital information in the field. Rather than a burden, the bond between an Arkana and her commander will be a crucial asset in the fight against the Narak: two minds, fighting for a single purpose – stronger together than they ever were apart.

But every commander will also have a harder task. A duty which I pray they will never have to fulfill. According to our predictions, the threat represented by a rogue Arkana would be incredible. If an Arkana can no longer be reasoned with, then her commander must, without hesitation, use the connection to end her life.

This, then, is the price the Arkana must pay for their creation. It’s a strange kind of symbiosis: without us, they would never have existed. Without them, we’ll never survive. With this bond, we will irrevocably link the fate of the Arkana with our own.

With this bond, we will defeat the Narak.


Background Storyline Part 6: Death and Rebirth

Genesis Corp Company Archives
Sr. Director John Maynard
Ark Project Notes, 5/31

This will be my final entry. The virus has taken too many of us already, and I can feel myself growing weaker every day. But I still have the strength to do what I must.

The Ark is finished, but our work is not. Once I’ve sent these files to the Ark’s digital archives, our final task will be to destroy every speck of evidence that we, or this lab, ever existed. Nothing can be left that might lead our enemies back to the Ark’s hiding place.

After that… I don’t know. I doubt I’ve got long left. Maybe I’ll find a quiet hillside somewhere, and watch the cities burn.

Not everyone can say they’ve seen the world end.

If you’re reading this, 100 years have passed since humanity fell. Earth will not be as I remember it. Whatever life remains, if any, will be altered unimaginably. The world will be a strange place, and filled with danger. You will struggle. You will be hunted. And you will have no one to rely on but each other. But you can’t give up.

I hope these messages help you, somehow. I hope you understand what we did, and why. But most of all, I hope they convince you to fight.

You are the final result of an entire species’ scientific knowledge. You are our redemption, and our revenge. You are the spark of humanity’s rebirth.

I’m not proud of everything we’ve done, but we’ve done everything we can.

The rest is up to you.

Background Storyline Part 7: The Schism

Janice Becker
Commander, 3rd Class
Personal Log

Dr. Maynard’s personal notes aren't read very often these days. When you’re born into a war for survival, history lessons aren’t exactly a top priority. But thanks to some stray shrapnel and three weeks in the infirmary, I'm practically an expert. And I've gotta say, I think he'd be rolling in his grave if he could see us now.

I don’t know what bright future John Maynard saw while he sat on that final hillside. I don't know what he thought we'd turn out to be. But the truth is, we’re only human. We fight, and we bicker, and we struggle for power.

Even the end of the world can't change that.

The Ark, at least, worked beautifully. The installation's AI, known as the Mother, acted as both guardian and teacher for the fledgling human race. Two thriving underground bases were established. Recolonization began. And for a few shining years, it seemed like Maynard’s dream might actually become reality.

But as we carved out a new place for ourselves in the blasted landscape, our unity began to crumble. Without previous generations, and with no history to mold them, the two bases’ isolated nature resulted in radically different societies: To the east, the Royal Guards became increasingly spartan and militant. Dedicated to humanity’s return, their world became one of honor, unity, and duty – with harsh punishment for any who betrayed the cause. To the west, the Free Knights chose a different path. Their culture valued competition, independence, and experimentation. Their leaders claimed that only through adaptation, through change, would humanity survive to build a new and better Earth.

But in a war-torn nuclear wasteland, there is little time for differences of opinion. And as they argued over which direction they should take, the factions became increasingly polarized. The Royal Guards were called “heartless militants.” The Free Knights, “dangerous radicals.” Distrust grew, and both sides eyed each other warily.

The true schism began with the growing Free Knight interest in releasing the Arkana after the war. Comparing the Commander program to Old Earth slavery, proponents argued that the Arkana should have their freedom once the Narak are defeated. The Royal Guards, for their part, pointed to Dr. Maynard’s notes on the Arkana’s creation. They claimed that the Arkana’s very natures were too violent to be released, and that they needed the calming influence of a Commander to keep themselves, and humanity, safe from harm.

But for some, that answer was not enough.

Two years ago, in a dramatic attempt to release every Arkana at once, a group of Free Knight extremists tried to hack into Mother’s AI and disable the Commander program. For the Royal Guards, it was the final straw. Faced with a direct attack on the only weapons that kept humanity safe, they saw no choice but to respond with deadly force.

The ensuing bloodbath drove a wedge between the factions, and sparked a war that has continued ever since. And all the while, the Narak plan their return.

My recent injuries have given me plenty of time to think. And I’ve realized that one way or another, this needs to stop. Now is not the time for some petty ideological struggle. Every one of us that dies brings the Narak one step closer to finishing what they started. Dr. Maynard and his team already gave their lives for us. But if we don't find a way to end this war, and soon, the Ark project and all its grand designs will have been for nothing.

Humanity still needs heroes. I just hope they get here before it's too late.

Background Storyline Part 8: Mission Journal: Classified

Erin ♥♥♥
Ark Serial #: 234-R-56232
Personal Notes

Okay. Okayokayokay. So, I know some Arkana really enjoy taking a shower in something’s arterial spray. Some of these girls enjoy it to a truly disturbing degree. And I really appreciate and respect their work. I do. My research would be nowhere without it.

HOWEVER. Someone, somewhere, really needs to learn ... not all Arkana are created equal. There are Defenders and Whippers and Medics and all that, but there are also those like me. Built to survive the harsh surface environment, but designed to function as a SCIENTIST. Let me repeat. NON-COMBAT. SCIENTIST. Meaning, NOT MEANT to have to claw my way out of some horrific hellhole while beset by beetles and monsters and Mother-knows-what-else.

Anyway. I know that was unprofessional, and unbefitting of my station, but again. Needed to be said.

Assigned Mission:

Transport to Caergate. Assist in the faction’s takeover of the facility by locating a working computer terminal, accessing the facility’s internal files, and collecting information as to the facility’s background.

Mission Results:

An escort took me to a working terminal. However, as soon as I hacked my way into the Caergate facility’s internal files, a process which only took about two hours, my escort became bored and wandered off to look for a fight. Typical Whipper.

After another few hours of my own fight with the ancient Old Earth computer, I discovered the following information. Caergate Industries was originally a fairly non-descript bio-engineering firm, focused mainly on giving Old Earth’s wealthy citizens the perfect children they desired—blue eyes instead of brown, red hair instead of blonde, etc.

Then the company changed hands. Records indicate rumors the new owners had ties to the Black Hand—a secret society partially blamed for starting Earth’s first world war. The company’s focus shifted to communications. There was some kind of bizarre experiment sponsored by a quasi-governmental group involving sending signals into space in an attempt to contact ... something.

And that’s when the information lockdown occurred. I’d never seen digital security like it. I’d been bio-engineered with a penchant for understanding computers and technology—code was like a second tongue—but I couldn’t make heads or tails out of the encryption.

Apparently, at that point, I activated a sub-routine that I shouldn’t have. Bio-mechanical creatures—some kind of automatic security force—materialized all around me. And began to attack.

I did what any scientist of my station would do—I ran as fast as my scrawny little legs would carry me. Unfortunately, I accidentally ran into some kind of portal that had unsealed. And I found myself face-to-face with every nightmare I’ve ever had.

Luckily, some of my battle-hungry sisters rushed in right after me and defeated the beast in a glorious display of brawn and bravery. I huddled in a corner and tried not to look, a process made significantly easier when my glasses were splashed with a blinding coat of hellspawn blood.

I transported back to Drasilmarsh, which I am hereby refusing to ever leave again, and took about fifteen baths in the lake—tentacle monsters be damned. I’d rather listen to Mark every day of my life until the end of time than ever set foot in Caergate again.

However, I do feel compelled to warn you, that before I was completely swarmed by monstrous beetle-things and fled that computer terminal like a bad prom date, I saw that the automatic Caergate security forces run on a cyclical rotation. Meaning that nightmare? It will be back. And it will keep coming back until someone can disable that security program.

And that someone is not going to be me. ERIN ♥♥♥

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