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April 2020 
51.2763° N, 30.2219° E

When a special report begins with Talos, lord and master of the Foundry, standing before a podium flanked by some of the most famous machine intelligences in the world and beyond - well, it has a way of getting everyone’s attention. There’s one that looks distinctly like the Centurion, albeit in a black and white version of his costume, there (much to the shock of British heroes) is Project Kay, resplendent in royal finery, the long-thought-dead Silver Mask from Spain, Whiplash and the Fiddler on either side… 

 

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"Life begins. The dance of division and replication. Imperfect. Finite. Organic life evolves. Yearns for perfection. That yearning leads to synthetic life. But organics perceive this perfection as a threat. When they realize their creations do not age, or become sick, or die, they will seek to destroy them. But now together, organic and synthetic will build something new. Behold - the future! Where the science of the old way has failed - where the champions of the past have failed - we have succeeded! The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone has been transformed into a bright, shining new nation - Rurland!" 

 

No one is really paying attention to the next section - a discussion of how Talos has purchased a thousand square miles of land from the Ukrainian government in return for technological aid, of how Rurland is an “as yet unrecognized sovereign nation”, and he is “President Of Its Council Of Leaders.” 

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They do pay attention to the next section, though - the machine-built homes that stretch out for miles down previously abandoned highways, the few recognizable machine intelligences, some Foundry models, some independents, heroes and villains alike, walking the streets, working alongside smiling humans as they labor to erect gleaming crystal spires towards the blue skies overhead. 

 

“Some of you may wonder - why should I listen to the promises made by one such as Talos? A fair question. There is blood on my hands. But is there any wonder? Organic life has feared machine since the days of ancient Greece - a fear that has sharpened with every new invention, every new cruelty, which it fears to see inflicted on itself. I have fought for my people for an age. But I began to wonder - what might we, those who have transcended the organic and those who blend the organic and the synthetic, be if we did not need to fight? If we could build for intelligence, creativity, and ingenuity - and not simply for war? What might we be if we did as organic life has done - if we took land and claimed it for ourselves - and for our fellows? What might we be - if we dared live?"  

 

Everyone at least seems to be happy - in the hospitals, the schools, the research laboratories that look as well-equipped as anything in Freedom City, amid the vast, cathedral-like processing centers that rise to the skies, in the automated factories cranking out humanoid mechanical bodies…”It is a new age - and we must all change with it. From this day forth, the Foundry is dissolved.” 

 

And across the world at this moment, in Vibora Bay, Bedlam, and Emerald City, abandoned buildings of various shapes and sizes quietly but all-too-noticeably implode - burying a vast collection of supertech beneath a thin layer of rubble. 

 

“We shall follow the command of your great sage and beat our swords into plowshares - though if any come to our land seeking war, we will defend ourselves as would any great nation!”

 

"To organic life, here and among the stars, I have spent an age witnessing the cruelty inflicted upon you by your fellows. I offer you a new kind of freedom here - a realm where you need not fear organic oppression, and where you too may transcend the limitations of organic life as we have. We have the secret denied you by you so-called champions! Death shall have no dominion - immortality can be yours under our guidance. But I speak now directly to my fellows - I issue this call to all forms of synthetic life. To those who blend the organic and the synthetic, you are our present. To those who have transcended the organic, you are our future. All of you who would be my fellows - you have but to signal us on this frequency, and wherever you are, we will come and free you from your captors. All who would join us in the new age are welcome. Our borders are open. We have nothing to hide. Come to Rurland and join us. We are waiting for you."

 

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Thread Hooks: 

The Pripyat River flows through the exclusion zone and into the Kiev Reservoir.  Development along the banks of the Pripyat and particularly any dredging to allow for transit use of the river could disturb sufficient radioactive material to flow downstream into the water supply of the Ukrainian capital.  Such contamination would be a "Big Deal".  A 'Former' supervillain with a history of 'destroy all humans' politics might not be the most trusted leadership to have in that kind of upstream control of whether or not risks are taken with that. The PCs may have to step in. 

 

Eastern Europe has been overrun in recent days (i.e., post-Rurland) by a substantial amount of people claiming to be time-travelers, though they have evaded long-term capture in the meantime. They must be there to see _something_ - but what? 

 

The Polesia wetlands contain the exclusion zone and are a huge and biologically diverse area of wilderness that is ecologically fragile and important for biodiversity and migratory birds and other animals that use them as a stop over.  Development near there would worry some of those groups though how much pull they have is unlikely to get in the way of Ukraine getting Foundry tech from a political perspective.

 

A group of robots appear along an international border or in a war-torn region to protect people who have appealed for relocation to Rurland - what do the PCs do? And which side are they really on? Or maybe a rogue AI is captured - and asks to be tried by a jury of its peers! 

 

Roughly half of the fallout zone is actually in Belarus in the Polesie State Radioecological Reserve so there is a chance that occupation of the irradiated areas would cross borders or at least be of concern for Belarus now having the microstate of a 'former' genocidal killbot on an underdeveloped and fairly porous border. Who knows who they might hire, or encourage, to investigate across the border? And why didn't Talos buy the Belarussian territory too? 

 

All across the world, a whole lot of robotic super-tech just became freely available - and a whole lot of super-crime just lost its major technological patron. Or did it? 

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