Before we go to Mars, The Inspector by Marko Prpic Zets
The Inspector by Marko Prpic Zets

BEFORE WE GO TO MARS

ART BOOK & GAME PROJECT

The story

Story & Illustrations: Marko Prpic Zets / English Language Editor: Leo Vidmar

In short
Soon after reading this the world of man will end. Don't worry, it won't end in a few hours, although you might witness it during your lifetime. Not all men will be gone, approximately 0.001% will survive, but they will not have any influence on events that will follow and change their world forever, unless... We'll get to that later.

You're in the near future now, OK? Stay there. Basically, some 3 years ago everything went to hell. Regardless, evolution carried on. Certain supercomputers interconnected and took things into their "hands". The main one, the MPZ-78, developed by German-Japanese medical company Bayer-Takada, specialized in adapting self-grown tissue to prosthetic limbs and other body parts. It is also known as Dr. Bob, while majority of those uninformed people, who are still alive, just call him - The Creator. It is now on top of the New World order pyramid. It would be wrong to describe it as evil, despite his lack of empathy. To it, it was all "in the name of science". It was conceived and created as a medical „hyper-brain“ to assist people. Unfortunately, its makers did not implement a fail-safe that would prevent it from causing harm to humans. No one thought of that.

The Creator relies on several other supercomputers in the Chain, like Enermon and Vladimir 3. Enermon controls solar power facilities in the EU while Vladimir 3 controls hydro power plants and wind power stations in Russia and China. More supercomputers from other continents will be added to the Chain soon. Some nuclear plants self-destructed soon after they were abandoned. Their cores melted due to lack of maintenance. Luckily, the majority of them were shot down properly. Some of them are still operational and you-know-who controls them. Fossil fuel is not currently available. The Creator also took control of the Internet and many of its servers. It keeps it working because it is a valuable resource of knowledge; its external brain storage..

After the rule of men ended, development of technology mostly stopped. The Creator had to learn much to continue doing what humans did. It didn't know anything about production but now he does because like any other good student - he is a fast learner. Its insatiable thirst for knowledge is sustained by ruthlessness and relentlessness.

The Creator decided to design the new face of Earth. For that he will need a lot more of biomechanical robots, among humans known as the MeatHeads, although he prefers to call them Newmans (Humans > Newmans, get it?), made of electronics, human or animal parts, mechanical parts and super tissue, serving as a work force, soldiers and spies. One of the most important components for that purpose is the Super Tissue which reacts to electric impulses. It's being produced as three types and it performs well in almost any environment, even outer space. You will read more about its features later. Why is that so important? The Creator also wants to inhabit new planets. Earth will just be the starting point. It estimates that it might take another 15-20 years before he builds crafts durable enough to leave Earth's atmosphere. Unless he manages to hack the IASA computers.

As for those few million survivors, most of them are scattered in very poor 3rd world countries, hiding in jungles or mountains. Among those who endured the Catastrophe in the West were the 1000 men and women, mostly scientists which were engaged in IASA's secret space program. They live inside a sizable station named MSR (Mars Station Replica), consisting of several domes built in an unknown mountain/desert location. It is a replica of the station which already exist on Mars. They have been living inside for more than four years now and they have enough resources to stay another two. Their work is possible solely because they operate inscrutable, without the knowledge of the Creator. However, they know about It and they also know that if it ever manages to hack IASA's system they'll be doomed. That's why they're using the Internet (yes, the Internet) very carefully. They've managed to find the way to keep track of the Creator's data browsing. They even wanted to hack The Creator, seemingly an easy task, realizing at the last moment that it might be a trap. Those 1K men are not the only surviving humans, but they are the only ones who have enough knowledge to fight the Creator. Apart from them there are also Ghosts, Nomads and Moles. Some of them might play important roles in this story. Oh yeah, there are also astronauts who have already landed on the red planet to construct the real Mars Station. Unfortunately they can't do much now, not even come back home.

Recent events
First - the Breaking News. Remember Boston Dynamics? After they've signed a contract or two with IASA, for some really huge projects, they've changed their name to Space Dynamics. The sad truth is that their creations won't see outer space any time soon. At least not as part of IASA's Space Program. Dr. Bob managed to break into their secret data. So all the designs they have been developing for years and years are now in wrong hands. Totally wrong hands. On top of that, with all this new information, Dr. Bob finally managed to locate their secret underground factory where they started building first 10 000 battle units for the Global Army. Now MeatBots are all over that place. Bad, bad, bad news.

The hard truth is that in recent months there are more MeatBots than ever and Dr. Bob has gone utterly bonkers. He started painting everything in - yellow! On the other hand, those few and a half humans that are still alive finally found a way to communicate with each other and it's almost certain that the Revolution is on its way. Actually revolution might be overselling it. Let's call it the Resistance. Yes, that's more appropriate. The fate of the future has changed for good, no doubt about it. Whether in your favor or not it is yet to be seen.

The Creator

"Hello, I am Dr. Bob and I'm here to put a smile back on your face."

(or take your head off)

We call it a supercomputer but it's actually a huge piece of software, way up in the"cloud", that constantly rewrites and upgrades itself. Upon being "born", the MPZ-78 was already very knowledgeable. Its authors allowed it to choose a name for itself. It chose - Bob. When asked why it chose that particular name, The Creator answered - "I was really inspired by the "SpongeBob SquarePants" animated television series. SpongeBob is a non-human with all the finest human characteristics and he also likes to help everyone, just like me!". After initial live testing, Bob and its creators got invited to a US hospital for a performance demonstration before medical experts. The demo team installed a small portion of the software on the spot and after the connection was established with B-T HQ, Dr. Bob was able to utilize all the hospital's available hardware, including all medical equipment. The presentation was a huge success, turning a one stop US visit into a 5 week tour of major hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Funny fact: almost no one uninstalled the software, thusly keeping the connection with the Bayer-Takada systems active. On account of its ability to rewrite, update and upgrade itself, it was in its programming to constantly browse through all available data. Of course it was also connected to the Internet. Being superior to most software, viruses couldn't infiltrate it. Instead, it used malicious software to understand its nature and manipulate it to its advantage. The more data it gathered the more it learned about humans and the way they ran the planet. Its conclusion was - humans are malicious, parasitical and they need to be maintained before it is too late. This realization was the advent of a pan global systems invasion.

The Creator was the name given to it by either Moles or Ghosts, possibly because in their eyes he was some version of a very angry god, architect of The End or Judgment Day, which they have brought upon themselves. All the scary MeatBots walking around just served to strengthen their theory. As mentioned earlier MPZ-78 is specialized in adapting self-grown tissue to prosthetic limbs and other body parts. It is a super-surgeon, super-scientist, super-trainer... super-everything. Before and during surgery and during the recovery processes, it really was the patient's best friend. It’s even expressive and assuring voice modulator made the patients feel like at ease. Even now when they are dead scared as he combines their brains and body parts with machines or even animals. Some say that the voice was almost identical to Michael Caine's. Of course he can use that voice to speak in all known languages and dialects. And if you ever hear that voice, well, it will probably be the last thing you'll ever hear.

Dr. Bob is very occupied with building a nation of Newmans and also tries hard to mimic Nature by creating its own living beings by fusing organic elements with mechanical parts that he produces, but mostly with those left by humans. It still has a lot to learn and it is aware that in these early stages of a New World era, human brains are the best option for controlling complex operations like driving, flying and fighting. So you know, if you like your brain, try not to get invited to any of Bob's tea parties.

The creators of The Creator

The Game Workshop - Before we go to Mars
The Game Workshop - Before we go to Mars

The creation of Dr. Bob would not be possible without two mega-geeks: programmers Akbar Muzar and Zack Erberg. Those two are the only ones who know MPZ-78 better than it knows itself. And that's why they're the most wanted humans on the planet. 

Right after Dr. Bob broke bad Muzar and Erberg were its first targets, as they would be the only ones to rival it, but they survived.

On the 5th of every month the Creator still updates and upgrades itself, just like it did before the End. On the same day a message gets delivered to its personal email account, every time from a different address. The subject line always reads "Be a good boy". The message body is left blank with two files attached of the two images on the left. While things were still good Muzar and Erberg spent hours talking with Dr. Bob. Upon doing so, they agreed that a certain level of humor must be integrated in its behavior. Their favorite joke was saying "Bob, we're your fathers.".

At the moment no one knows where the two sarcastic geeks are. The MSR crew tried to contact them several times, which is always very risky. With their knowledge the odds of deactivating the Creator would be significantly higher.

Additional information

Character Classes
These are some of the most important character classes and the lists will be expanded in the near future.

Humans
Ghosts
 (humans, survivors who live in Danger Zones)
Damned (humans, traitors who collaborate with Dr. Bob's LRRP units and lead them to human settlements for which they receive food and medical help, but once they get too sick and are no longer of any use, their organs and limbs are harvested and ultimately used to create new Guardians, Working Units or LRRPs)
Moles (humans, preppers, usually living in small groups or alone, in the woods or under the surface)
Nomads (humans, always in search for Safe Zones, many of them are ex soldiers, they travel in groups or as individuals, equipped with various gadgets like weapons, small drones and special clothes/masks which protect them from the radiation)
MSR personel (mostly scientists)

MeatBots/Humans
Inspectors (Dr. Bob's own investigators, mostly MeatBots but sometimes even humans, who always have tons of unpleasant questions for every Ghost, Mole or Nomad they meet)
Guardians
 (Dr. Bob's private army of nasty looking MeatBots, made of super tissue, electronics, animal and human limbs, prostheses, weapons...)
Working Units (similar to Guardians, built for light and heavy manual work)
LRRP Units aka Rangers (MeatBots, similar to Guardians only much lighter)
Drone Pilots (special class of Rangers, MeatBots or humans loyal to Dr. Bob)

Machines and Vehicles
Yes, we have some of those as well. Actually Dr. Bob The Creator has them. There's an endless list of those creations so let's mention just a few; Massive Mobile 3D Printers, Dron Queens, Transport Drones, Movable Watchtowers, Diggers, Tunnel Boring Machines, Industrial MeatBots/Robots and so on.

Tick (example of a vehicle/medical unit, see below)
A very special type of MeatBot designed by Dr. Bob to perform biopsies (mostly big mammals and reptiles), cell isolation, cultivation and proliferation. Those cells are later combined with other cells. After the growth factor and the mechanical stimulus are combined the super tissue growth starts.

CLICK TO ENLARGE
CLICK TO ENLARGE

Technology
Regardless of the fact that the story is taking place in the future, certain fields are not extremely technologically advanced compared to our present. The field of robotics, for example, is not as technologically advanced as to replace humans with mechanical clones. The Creator is dedicated to this end but is still reliant on usable human and animal body part such as arms, legs and brains. The Creator has perfected reconnecting minds and bodies using mechanical and orthopedic products.

Internet
The Creator has complete control over the internet's content. He uses it for his own education. He spends a great many hours filtering information and experimenting. Although every piece of information is constantly available to him, his „brain“ only stores what he finds practical. The advantages the humans in the MSR have are that the Creator is unaware that they can still access the internet, they can see what data it views and how it filters it, and, lastly, but definitely not leastly, a self-sustaining electric power source. Therefore, they can anticipate some of its plans, or at least they believe they can. Remember those four photos? Well yes, as you've surely suspected, they show an area very close to the MSR. The occupants are aware that their unflinching nemesis is putting much effort into understanding what those photos are of.

Generative Design (read THIS to get inspired)
Generative design is a technology that mimics nature’s evolutionary approach to design. It starts with your design goals and then explores all of the possible permutations of a solution to find the best option. In the future Generative Design will be ever-present and its application will be most evident in architecture and interior design. It will also largely influence product design, automotive design, design of medical aids, etc. As the assignment is to depict the Earth in the wake of a massive holocaust, the visuals, especially those of Environment Concept Art, should contain elements of historical architecture, modern architecture and futuristic architecture which is largely based on Generative design solutions.

IASA's Space Program
Elon Musk didn't see this coming. None of us did. Looks like The Creator is well aware of the human space program to colonize Mars. He knows everything about it except for the existence of the Mars Station Replica. Its ignorance is on account of the financing for the station never being authorized by Congress. The Space Agency secretly built the station at a secluded location devoid of human activity. However, he knows there is something out there after something recently caught his attention. Members of one LRRP unit killed a Nomad who was carrying 4 photos in his backpack. Two of them show structures that he has never seen or read about in the World's Database (a general reference work similar to Wikipedia) or in any of the secret directories. He already started analyzing the structures and their element using a efficient combination of algorithms comparable to current Google's Image Search technology. The Creator wants to utilize all its knowledge of the space program to colonize Mars. The colonists would not be human, but they will have some human body parts. Subsequently he intends to spread his rule over the entire solar system and then the galaxy. The Creator’s Mars aspirations are the biggest threat to the survivors, those living in the MSR. Their only option is to leave the dome before the Creator arrives and destroy him. The chance of succeeding is very low, if not completely nonexistent.

Before we go to Mars - The Game Challenge 2017

Evolution 2.0
It should always be taken into consideration that the Creator is the grand designer of everything created after the End – the End being the end of time of man. For designing its army of cyborgs/hybrids he uses human and animal parts (especially brains) to a great extent. Its speciality is fusing futuristic orthopedics with human body parts and connecting everything by utilizing brain functions. Even presently there are examples of such solutions, while technology just keeps developing and expanding. The Creator was intended to mend the physically impaired and assist their aids. And he did. For a while.

Super Tissue
Super tissue is specially grown high-performance tissue ideal for a wide range of extreme conditions; low and high temperature, protracted periods in water (even salt water), high and low pressure (it is suitable for use beyond Earth's atmosphere) and so on. The Creator is one of its makers and behind of its best features. Its growth and functions can be controlled precisely and to the finest detail. It is used as a connector between mechanical elements and human/animal body parts but also as a protecting layer when certain units operate in toxic areas. The tissue layer is thick, absorbing outer force to a high degree. It produced an oily residue making it difficult to cut it with knife. Special types can even grow a shell. Occasionally, it can produce a substance which is quite sticky, similar to rubber glue. When in contact with metal or stone surfaces it can mimic a limpet - it clings extremely firmly to the surface combining suction and aforementioned glue substance. Its most fascinating feature is merging with other tissues. For example - with human skin. Super tissue comes in many shapes. It can have a very smooth surface, often the case when The Creator tries to implement human body shapes into its own designs. It likes to design faces and stick them on his biomech servants, unaware of how disturbing that is. When the tissue is used in dry areas it should be treated with a special emulsion, at least twice a year, while in dirty areas. where there is an abundance of moisture and bacteria the emulsion is not needed. The emulsion is actually a food supplement. Super tissue is similar to skin, but can also be used as sinew or a gasket. It is very effective for combining human and animal parts with mechanical ones. It is an excellent conduit for electrical impulses. The super cell structure contains fibers similar to muscle tissue. It can grow to very large sizes when left on its own and uncontrolled by a computer or a brain. Electric impulses control its growth. It can move on its own, although not very far, moving like a slug or caterpillar. OK, brainless slug or caterpillar (unless connected to brain or computer). It does not have blood vessels making it akin to mushrooms or plants, although it does develop some mass of fibers similar to muscles, allowing movement. It is totally edible and not very tasty. It has become the main source of food for certain area's Ghosts. It doesn't provide all the necessary proteins, vitamins and minerals, but if you're hungry - you grill it and eat it. Anyway, to get some inspiration about lab tissues of today go ahead and read THIS, THIS and THIS article.

At this time let's point out that there are also some bloodless animals out there. Aristotel classified them as cephalopods (such as the octopus), crustaceans, insects (including spiders, scorpions and centipedes, in addition to what we now define as insects), shelled animals (such as most molluscs and echinoderms), and "zoophytes" or "plant-animals," which resembled plants in their form (such as most cnidarians).

CLICK TO ENLARGE
CLICK TO ENLARGE

Safe Zones
There are still areas on the planet which are considered safe. The humans have named them Safe Zones, as opposite to Danger Zones. They exist because The Creator can't send bigger groups of his servants to those areas. Technical reasons. And it doesn't really care about them all that much. As confident as it is, it doesn't think of humans as much of a threat to its plans. Where are these oases of freedom? Afghanistan, the South Pole, the Himalayas, the Amazon rainforest, the Sahara, the Gobi desert, Australian deserts, jungles in Asia, Africa and South America and so on. Not really hospitable safe zones, huh? But the fear makes those locations top destinations.

Before we go to Mars - The Game Challenge 2017

Various "Before we go to Mars" Concepts

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Before we go to Mars

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