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MANTIS

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The MANTIS is an original character from my current story project - the time-consuming IN LAK'ECH Mythos, still in initial stages of development.
As you can tell by his armor's design, it's inspired by the eponymous arthropod, some science fiction and tokusatsu influences, but also directly derived from another design, that of the original "ZETA" armor, one of the 27+ armors from the Alpha-Omega series that I've designed last year in collaboration with :icontyphonian-apkallu:.
Each of them has an unique power and also play a major role in the IN LAK'ECH Mythos. The Mantis' customized ZETA armor allows him to generate and partially control windstorms

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THE INSECT SYNDICATE BEGINS
In the IN LAK'ECH Mythos, the MANTIS is a member of the Insect Syndicate, a semi-official enforcement/security group headquertered in Chinchaysuyu (equivalent to the northern Peruvian Coast), a State/district of Tahuantinsuyu (named after the original Inca Empire, in the IN LAK'ECH Mythos a larger modern State which spans from Colombia in the North to the northern regions of Chile and Argentina in the South, encompassing areas from Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. It's divided into four "suyus" or regions, and the capital, Moche, is located in Chinchaysuyu). The Syndicate's leader and founding member, the ICHNEUMON, is himself the major military authority of the Chinchaysuyu region, and an official "MALLKI" Cyborg General (named after the Inca royal mummies, the Mallki are the highest military authorities of Tahuantinsuyu, each one is assigned to a suyu) from Tahuantinsuyu.
    The Insect Syndicate was officially founded in September 2009, when riots had just resumed in the metropolitan area of Chinchaysuyu after Tupaq Amaru III, a popular, yet controversial figure who was a guerrilla leader, revolutionary indigenous socialist captain during the era of the Peruvian Empire (that was replaced by the Socialist Republic of Tahuantinsuyu in 1969, following the victory of Tupaq's fellows and the capture & execution of the Peruvian emperor, Urcon Verbo, a dictator who was more like a CIA puppet) and the eventual President of Tahuantinsuyu from 1979 to 2000, when he went missing (and reports of his supposed death began to rise). He returned on March 2009, and on April 1st was appointed by Tahuantinsuyu's current president, Herrera Humala (from the traditional Communist Party of Tahuantinsuyu, Humala took the position in 2006, shortly after Julio Huanca, the current president since 2005's elections, from the left, social-democratic opposition party PSP has resigned), as Prime Minister. This move was poorly received by several sectors of the international community as a threat to democracy, but the Tahuantinsuyuan government, like all others, really didn't let its own population take charge of any effective measure over the decisions that concerned their own living (can democracy even exist, if in the end most of the people that compose a mass society are rather obliged to live in these conditions than they do it willingly?), and through its security forces often committed human rights violations, supported by its own corrupt law system and perpetrated by it's police (it's what police does, afterall).

THE SAQRARUNA
    Between 2009 and 2011, the ICHNEUMON and the FIREFLY were the only two members of the Insect Syndicate, however their main sponsor, SPECTRO, the head of the secret intergalactic    Saqraruna Organization (that operates in Tahuantinsuyu for centuries), already had interest in capturing, customizing other super-powered Alpha-Omega armors and recruiting genetically fit users to don these armors and operate within the Insect Syndicate. Until May 2010, most of these were owned by the AXIS Institute, a private military academy (or rather bounty hunter academy), sponsored by the armors' so-called developers, the american military technology corporation ABEL Inc. and the Teutonic (German) Ulhaden Corporation. Because of inner disputes and the threat of exposing its darkest secrets, the AXIS was closed and the ownership of each armor divided between different figures, some more and some less related to the aforementioned military companies. Before SPECTRO's minions could start the harvest, however, some armors (Psi, Iota, Epsilon, Alpha) have been previously located and stolen by traditional enemies of AXIS, like the inhuman lizard-man Cuetzpalin Paynal, and ultimately fell to the hands of independent, paramilitary anarchists across the globe, leading to the creation of armed affinity groups. Other armors (Ni, Mi, Sigma, Pi) were held tighter by far-right nationalists.
    The members of the Insect Syndicate operate accordingly to the orders given by their leader ICHNEUMON, who in turn operates accordingly to "the interests of the State of Tahuantinsuyu" as the MALLKI Cyborg General of the province of Chinchaysuyu. These interests are dictated by Tahuantinsuyu's Council for Advanced Scientific, Technological, Industrial and Energy Development, a not so public organ from the State which most recent public relations manager as of 2009 is a cyborg ("post-human") named Choque Illa. From behind, the council is merely a mask for the Saqraruna Organization, which leader, SPECTRO (reputedly, a "Yakuruna" alien. Actually, a centuries-old Artificial Intelligence), has been a long-time ally of Tupaq Amaru III (even before he was called as such. Tupaq the Tahuantinsuyuan leader is actually a vessel for an ancient Elemental God of Darkness). But that's a story for another day. Like with the MALLKI Cyborgs, the identities behind each Insect Syndicate member (if they have one) are hidden even among their own. Most of them live in Chinchaysuyu as citizens, but while activated for a mission, they dress up and only refer to each other with their respective "Insect identities". The public also have absolutely no contact to the IS missions or goals, all they've got to know is that they're some kind of Tahuantinsuyuan secret agent. Despite that, each member have a very different background, several of them aren't even of Tahuantinsuyuan nationality, and have been recruited under equally different circumstances (all, however, have been meticulously chosen and approached, and surpassed life-threatening tests).
    The true loyalty of the Insect Syndicate is to SPECTRO, someone they don't even know (save perhaps for Ichneumon, and after some time, the Firefly, the SCORPION and the HORNET). Like all, they also aren't used to the fact that their very armors haven't actually been developed by ABEL Inc or Ulhaden Corporation, instead they were given to personnel of these enterprises by a secret supplier named Archimedes (from a secret organization, the Novus Civilizatio), and both ABEL and Ulhaden were merely tasked to modify them and adapt them to human usage (the armors' raw material secretly comes from biomechanical aliens, the Dzolob and Aluxob, from the planet of Sothis, colonized by Archimedes and his sponsors). Of course they turned the armors' customization into their latest products, promising generations of super soldiers for the West (as long as the human subjects survived the usage of such armors. In several cases, they resulted in side effects, and that's why the AXIS Institute employed so many scientists and spent so many resources on investigating the armors, rather than just handing it to any apt agent), what inadvertently subverted the armors' original goal (at least according to the cryptic Archimedes) - these armors are symbiotes that interact with their users, and were "meant to bound to the most genetically apt human vessels". They have a major role to play in the ongoing process of Human Automation, and Archimedes has an untold connection to the Saqraruna.

ZETA
   
The armor which was modified into MANTIS' since his recruitment in February 2013 is the original Zeta armor, catalogued by the ABEL Inc. since 1982, supposedly developed in ABEL's Balboa facility, it's branch on Panama. The sixth armor of the series and fifth to be owned by ABEL Inc, it was originally trusted to Thomas Johnson, who fought in the Gulf War, and later Elijah Sellig, who died in ABEL's secret Operation: MILLENNIUM in 2000. The operation was launched by request of the CIA and planned to capture the Tahuantinsuyuan leader Tupaq Amaru III when he was reported to be visiting the Death Valley Desert in Arizona (where, unknown to all, there's an underground lab from the secret Saqraruna Organization), ABEL's reputation in accordance to the CIA and international security forces, including the traditional INTERPOL, would only be healed by an agreement between it and the Teutonic Ulhaden Corporation, that would become the sponsors of a Gallia-headquartered international, private military academy - the AXIS Institute, the legal owner of most of the super-powered Alpha-Omega armors. Like with ABEL, the Ulhaden corporation was a facade to the secret origin of the armors and even then suffered the deaths of several agents in the late 20th century, during the failed Operation: RED ISLAND, which ended with the destruction of Bermeja, an island at the Atlantic region of Mexico - the same event where Tupaq was trapped into the Absolute Darkness by some of his brothers and rivals, the Elemental Gods. A great intel was lost as well, and traditional corporations like the Catholic Church and private military forces under public facades, headed by UN's current secretary of security, Brazilian ex-general Wagner K (who used to be a bounty hunter at the time Tupaq was a revolutionary, and later a dictatorship general during the seventies and eighties), were instrumental to forge AXIS and its own role in the international politics, while ABEL and Ulhaden should keep working on more armors and more tests. The secret breeding and enslavement of "demonoids" within AXIS' grounds would keep its own atmosphere less suspicious to its inner staff. Under the AXIS Institute, the Zeta would pass from agent Ian Kelley to agent Benjamin Phillips, who died in the infamous Mission: SCIROCCO in 2010. On the said mission, which ultimately lead to AXIS' breakup, the Zeta armor was (supposedly) irrepairably damaged under debris at some caves destroyed near Juba, South Sudan, and left behind by the ABEL related agents that survived.

MANTIS
   
The Saqraruna Organization, or rather it's manager, SPECTRO, is more thoroughly involved with the actual creation of the Alpha-Omega armor than the ABEL Inc and the Ulhaden Corporation which claim to have crafted them, but were actually challenged by Archimedes to further put those armors into test. For reasons of profit, these enterprises sought to create super soldiers, and to do so employed several teams of scientists and military personnel with divergent goals, world views and objectives. In some years, however, any progress of enhancement on those armors (or rather symbiotes)' relations to human hosts has been somewhat bridled by increasing bureaucracies such as AXIS' apparent priorization of "demon-breeding" and political agenda - the maintenance of the status quo, the UN and a capitalist expansion where the relations of dominance and usurping of basic resources for the defense of traditional corporations are rule. With AXIS' dissipation, ABEL and Ulhaden have tried to separate the ownership of such armors among their chosen ones, but in this process have lost some of them for distinct belligerents across the world, or merely to rot, like the Zeta. The Saqraruna, however, had other plans - to expand the Insect Syndicate, and the bounty hunter CORAX has been activated to return the remnants of Zeta from its burial cave, for some enhancements were made, and a new host for the suit has been chosen. This new host, however, like all other Insect Syndicate members, would have his identity hidden from his fellows (and thus the public as well).
    Behind the Mantis' mask, there's Jacques Fernier, a french member of the secret Palarokhian Society, a secret society from the medieval ages organized by distinct sorcerers from Europe that after some centuries have headquartered themselves around what not is Belarus. These bourgeois have conspired against some fiefdoms and in their pursuit for earthly power they've unleashed Tupaq the Primordial Dragon and Elemental God of Darkness from his 3000 years slumber in the Absolute Darkness. In return, Tupaq has incarnated into a self-proclaimed "Palarokhian Emperor" and promised his followers - manipulators of materialized darkness or necromancers using the hidden Philosopher's Stone - to rule over the land, as at the same time Black Death stroke Europe, the "Palarokhians" found a short-lived "magocratic" State, which further growth was prevented by the sudden disappearance and death of Tupaq's incarnation (on the Belovezhskaya Forest, nowadays between the borders of Polish and Belarusian states) and campaigns led by the anarchist Schwarze Ritter (Black Knights). That however was neither the end of Tupaq nor that of the Palarokhian Society, as some of its members have reorganized under different grandmasters and held key positions on an array of 14th Century european kingdoms. Through Tupaq's original, "spiritual" form, they would also gain contact with the Saqraruna and establish an intercontinental intel. Rivalries within the order have led to the seclusion of some of its members, and the involvement of different members in opposing factions across historical conflicts. Following Karzon Valtheran's role within the USSR, most of the remaining Palarokhian Society members operated alongside the Saqraruna in private projects which nonetheless supported some of the USSR's own military projects, including the creation of a squad powered by the Philosophers' Stone. When the USSR transitioned into Russia and other states, their sponsors and positions didn't change - the Palarokhian Society remained headquartered in Belarus, albeit it sought to introduce descendants of the pre-revolution society into its own ranks, and this is where Ollantay Melivilu Valtheran, a Belarusian KGB captain and secretly an agent of the Palarokhian Society and Saqraruna (his father, Vadim, was a general at the time Tupaq ruled Tahuantinsuyu), has approached the wealthy landlord Jacques Fernier in order to "initiate him into the society". The initiation, however, was part of a larger plot involving the pursuit of intel within the Jötunn Scientific Organization - an eugenist institution based in Scandinavia, operating beneath the facade of distinct genectic manipulation corporations with global assets, that's headed by Ymir the Elemental God of Frost and one of the elemental gods behind the capture of Tupaq and the Yana Phuyu (quechua for "dark clouds", they're shadow demons reputedly derived from Tupaq in ancient times) during 2000.
    In 2009, Fernier has collaborated with Morax, a minotaur who operates as a traditional slave trader, and who occasionally traded slaves (human and non-human) with the Jötunn Scientific Organization. Through a shipment of slaves which Fernier, secretly sponsored by the Palarokhian Society, has acquired from Morax, he would try to locate the current incarnation of Tupaq. Fernier's identity was kept in secrecy, and he would meet with Saqraruna representatives in unlikely locations, such as the Piraeus port, on Minoica (Hellas/Greece), where a dissident faction split from INTERPOL, ironically led by Vadim, has started a conflict, which was nonetheless "neutralized" by Saqraruna forces. After Tupaq had been released, however, Fernier had still to continue his initation, and Morax was once again called to contribute with slaves that would serve as his first experiments of undead minions. To avoid further persecutions from Vadim's agents, Fernier has travelled to an Inuit village near Saguenay, Canada, where he claimed "the land belonged once to his ancestors", and for some days his experiments would greatly endanger the locals, turning some of them into zombies hungry for the living - and that, allied to the Jötunn Scientific Organization and Morax's roles, were hid from public media for "security priority purposes". Fernier only stopped what would be his little reign of terror when Cuetzpalin Paynal (a super-fast lizard-man who at the time caused direct actions against the government, enterprises, public or private properties related to animal exploitation), at the time under persecution by AXIS agents EPSILON and TAU, has identified the madman's role and killed him, dismembering him and sealing his remains in a watery pit, kilometers away from the surface. Or so it would seem - in October 2011, when the Palarokhian Society, headed by the Grandmaster Tupaq Chasqui II (an alien satyr, from another planet, who besides a necromancer is also a dragon rider), was especially engaged in persecuting the Black Knights and some of their international, anarchist associates (including Paynal), Fernier was revived - or rather reincarnated into a body of Duskoplasm, which is a materialization of darkness, the reproduction of a Yana Phuyu by mortal hands and an extra push by the Philosopher's Stone power. That time, too, Paynal would put an end to him, but the Saqraruna organization, for some reason, restored this indebted killer into a half-life like state, and in 2013 set him to his first mission: recruit the next Insect Syndicate member, the SPIDER. Once again, the Mantis would face the one he met as Paynal, only this time the lizard-man, called Nagual, was more like a wild beast, recently freed from his confinement, and yet fully aware of his enemy - civilization and mass society. All that made it less personal for Fernier, whose gaze couldn't be seen even from outside or from inside the armor - he's become, afterall, a dead man walking.


MORE INSECT SYNDICATE MEMBERS:
ICHNEUMON | FIREFLY | FIREFLY (2) | SCORPION | MOTH | HORNET | WASP |
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Battledroidunit047's avatar
I came here expecting something related to the character from Beast Wars II. This caught me by surprise...