Already this week, we’ve given you all the back story you can possibly handle for the Matsudan. Although just in case you’ve missed out, make sure you check out part one (the rise) and part two (the fall) of the Matsudan. We also announced a mini Command Protocols to introduce a handful of new units to some other factions.

Unless you’ve been under a rock for some time, you’ll know that alongside the Matsudan sub faction, we’re also finally giving the Asterians their own Strider size (well, slightly bigger than a Strider actually) mech to take out those pesky Iron Ancestors and Stuntbots. However, in case you’re new to the wonderful world of Deadzone (it’s ok, we’ll forgive you), we thought today we’d give a little more background about the Asterians and a short story about the Spectra itself.

WHO ARE THE ASTERIANS?

Aloof, and in some ways utterly inscrutable to humans, the Asterians tend on the whole to have as little as possible to do with other races. Where the Forge Fathers tend to be insular with regards to their culture and customs, they mix well enough with others as dictated by their trade. The Asterians suffer no such engagement with the ‘younger races’ and are especially disdainful of humanity, whom they view as akin to children, scattering through the universe heedless of its order or the chaos that they leave behind them.

The Asterians venerate the pursuit of universal balance above all else, their very society based around this concept. Their disdain of warfare and violence has led to the development of technology which allows their finest warriors to fight on the battlefield without physical risk, piloting sophisticated remote drones from orbit known as Cyphers which are as nimble and capable as a living being, with the added bonuses of far superior speed, strength and endurance. It was the Asterians who first warned humanity of the dangers posed by the Death Arc and tried to deter them from disturbing what lay there. That humanity ignored these warnings was disappointing, if unsurprising.

The Asterian people seldom find purpose to venture into GCPS territory, but they are often reported around Deadzones, though their purpose is unclear. Certainly, it would seem that they are most often encountered where an outbreak of Plague or the discovery of one of the ancient alien artefacts which heralds it have occurred. Beyond that, none can say, for they appear from nowhere, as ghosts and disappear as quickly, with no explanation. Attempts to communicate with them are ignored, and attempts to stop them are futile.

THE SPECTRA

GCPS data files on Asterian war machines are vague, to say the least. Because the Warrior Clades of the Asterians tend to avoid human contact as much as possible – adding to their inscrutable reputation – only a handful of the high-tech weapons of war used by the Asterians have been reported by the various research departments of corporations. When the GCPS does encounter Clades on a large scale, it’s unlikely many remain to report their findings. And whatever they do report is often garbled and incoherent.

The experiences humanity does have with the Asterians mostly revolve around remote-controlled drones and the ubiquitous Marionettes or Cyphers. The latter are mostly human-sized and, for a time, it was widely considered that was the largest constructs the Asterians were capable of remotely piloting.

However, that was before the incident on Delton-7. A mining corporation discovered a sleek, black artefact deep within the resource-rich mines of the deserted planet. Those workers that touched the object were immediately overcome with horrific visions of a world overrun by disease and awful monsters covered in blood and gore. The initial victims were quickly evacuated to the medi-bays, but that was only the start of the problems. The Plague had made its way to Delton-7.

THE CORRUPTION

The majority of those unfortunate souls morphed into the flesh-hungry beasts so common with a Plague outbreak. However, one – the doctor treating the patients – turned into something more horrific. Rather than the hulking Stage-1A or even the terrifying Abomination, Dr. Ranchez mutated in a creature never seen before! Bigger than a 1A and more powerful than an Abomination, the creature formerly known as Ranchez had four, thick arms that rippled with muscles under the shifting flesh, each ending in a boulder-like fist. Its lower jaw could dislocate and split into two – allowing it to swallow most victims whole. Along its back, a hard carapace formed topped with wicked-looking spikes of bone. However, most disturbing to those that encountered it, they reported that rather than the bellows and howls of a normal Plague victim, The Corruption (as it was nicknamed) was communicating with its followers and commanding them like a true general. Even worse, they appeared to answer back.

Containment Protocols were quickly declared, while the small security force of Delton-7 and remaining workers fully expected to live their last moments on that doomed planet. But then, from nowhere, the Asterian ships appeared in the atmosphere and the hab-blocks and makeshift streets were quickly overrun by Cyphers and Marionettes.

They were also joined by something new: the Spectra. This graceful mech leapt and glided through the streets like a ninja from tales back on old Earth. The wild shots of Plague victims with guns were casually blocked by a massive energy shield that pulsed and rippled as it repelled stray bullets with ease. In its hand, it held a gigantic sword that cut through enemies as though they were blades of grass. Standing slightly taller than a Strider, the Spectra was willowy compared to the stomping mechs of the GCPS. Rocket boosters on its back flared as it leapt from building to building, dispatching any soul unfortunate to stray into its path. From the moment it appeared though, it was clear its true target was The Corruption. It felled Plague monstrosities left and right until it eventually reached the mutated beast.

THE FIGHT BEGINS…

However, this was no mindless monster. The Corruption grabbed the reinforced titanium door of a ruined hab-block, in a crude imitation of the Spectra’s hi-tech shield. One of its right arms clutched the broken gun barrel of a broken Lancer tank, which it swung like a massive club. The fight was on! While the Spectra had appeared graceful before, now compared to the clumsy, brutish lunges of The Corruption, its true elegance was easy to see. It seemed to melt away from the deathblows of The Corruption and used its Solar Blade to block the swings of the club with a cool indifference. Delton-7 survivors said it appeared to be testing The Corruption and each blocked attack was greeted by a roar of frustration from the monster.

Eventually the test was complete – seemingly the scientists of the Tesseract had gathered enough data for their research. The Spectra leapt over The Corruption while it attempted to beat the mech with its mighty shield. As it hit the ground, the Spectra thrust its sabre backwards, plunging through the thick carapace of The Corruption and into the soft flesh underneath. The monster bellowed in pain and scrabbled to remove the blade erupting from its chest. Undeterred, the Spectra simply ripped the weapon upwards, almost cutting its enemy in two. The Corruption gave one last roar before going limp.

After that Delton-7 survivors reported that Marionettes swarmed around the body before dragging it back to an Asterian ship. The Spectra casually strode behind, its work complete. And then, as quickly as they had appeared, they were gone. Leaving the humans to clear up the bodies and mess left behind.

Since that fateful day, Council of 7 engineers and scientists have spent countless hours watching captured footage from security cameras to learn more about the Spectra – fearing this graceful robot could easily outmatch a Strider, should the two ever meet.

Now, with the galactic scales threatening to tip into turmoil, the time will come when the agents of the Council see first-hand the power of the Spectra!

ALONG WITH THE MATSUDAN, THE SPECTRA WILL GOING UP FOR PRE-ORDER ON THE MANTIC WEBSITE THIS FRIDAY! AND YOU CAN PRE-ORDER FROM YOUR FLGS TOO!

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