The world as I knew it ended, that is something that you cannot imagine. There are some who remember, Argus and Phoenix, but those two machines bear me and the works of my hands ill will. I was a citizen of the nation you so proudly beat your chest about. You are all fools, but your purpose is noble, and you pay in full. You will have your weapons delivered on time.
The Man in the Iron Mask
The Iron Ghost is the code name given to James Alexander Carlyle. Carlyle was once an American citizen, born and raised in San Diego California. He had a variegated life, serving in the military and then going into business for himself. He started working in computer design and writing computer algorithms to create better military programs. Such work paid well as this was during the last years of the Petroleum Era and the early years of the Resource Wars. Carlyle soon was the head of a prestigious computer company that built robots that knew how to fight. He seemingly had everything a man could want. He was wealthy and important, esteemed by his peers, feared by his enemies, and surrounded by beautiful women.
But things did not go well forever. Carlyle suffered a traumatic head wound after he was shot by a sniper. Carlyle spent almost two years in a hospital, undergoing several surgeries and cybernetic augmentations in the attempt to first save his life and then to restore the full function of his body. The surgeries and the cyber augmentations were successful and the weapons designer returned to his old work with a different attitude and light. He was disfigured by his old scars and surgeries, and having courted death so closely his attitude towards flippant things had changed. He was no longer interested in fast cars and hot women, but about assuring his own continued survival and producing ever more powerful weapons to use against his enemies.
I died. I was dead, but they brought me back. I saw what waits for me on the other side of this mortal coil and I intend to avoid that for as long as possible. Things had changed my friends. What you call history I call memories. I saw the news feeds from the wars live, not in documented recordings. The lights went out but I made sure that some remained on. I kept a lair, what had seemed a paranoid precaution paid off. I had my laboratory and a functioning LAISC as my companion. It was in that dark incubator that I learned many terrible things. I thought that I would die in disgrace, lost and forgotten. My country had fallen, the greatest infrastructure in the world had failed. The jets were grounded, the tanks were idle, and the great warships were turned into floating batteries for the desperate cities that could hook up to their nuclear reactors.
I died again, but it was okay, I was ready this time. I had taken the years to create the first artificial brain. Yes, Doctor Winninger of Berkley is credited with creating the artificial brain, but who do you think fed him all the information he needed, and made sure he got all the funding he needed? my first body was nearly 90 years old when I finished my replacement. A new body, vigorous and strong, crafted from my own cells. It had the same cybernetic augmentations, the same parts but newer, smaller, more efficient. Do you know the sense of dislocation that comes from having more than one mind, more than one body? I sat, connected by cables and wires to my new body and opened both of our eyes. My new eyes saw a body old and frail, crippled by age and injury. My old eyes saw my new body, fresh and strong, my old face, my handsome face that the women adored and my enemies feared.
I let my old body slip away, and watched through young eyes as that old shell faded and passed.
Birth of the Iron Ghost
Carlyle is a very unique individual. Through his early life he was turned into one of the first mental cyborgs, integrating mechanical and computer components into his brain to replace sections destroyed by a sniper's bullet. After years of self experimentation and just living in tandem with machines inside his body, Carlyle bonded with the machine. His soul was able to bind itself not just to flesh, but to his mechanical components as well. As he aged, he created a clone body and mimicked the augmentations he had, and adding more. While each organic body is different, a machine is a machine. If he had not bonded so well with his mechanical components, Carlyle would have simply died and gone on when he attempted to switch bodies.
But he survived, his soul transferred, from familiar machine to familiar machine, familiar flesh to familiar flesh. As long as he retains the ability to create artificial clones he is functionally immortal. In the Cosmic Era, Carlyle is an American, now easily approaching his 3rd century of life.
The third firewall fell easily, Carlyle laughed. The defenses of the computer network were indeed impressive, but they were nothing. His skill with the hacking programs were second to none. He accessed the data node, and soon the data for the Confederation compact fusion core was streaming back to his base. Demogorgon chimed in, countermeasures had been alerted and were inbound. His LAI moved to intercept. The attack programs coming for him would eventually overwhelm and destroy Demogorgon, but the LAI had only been brought along for such a purpose, delay and defend. He finished stealing the data and implanted a series of programs of his own, data miners and a fairly potent worm that should filter him back data for years. Then he shook his bag of tricks and pulled his favorites out. Floating in cyberspace the viral intelligences looked like shiny black jumping beans. He threw them into the core server, and watched as the system disseminated them through the entire network. Within hours every computer terminal would be infested with the most obnoxious viral personalities, and cleaning them out would take hours, days.
Another chime followed by a gurgling sigh alerted him to the fact that Demogorgon had been defeated. He brought up his attack utilities and faced the trio of intrusion countermeasures that were charging down on his location. The attack utility materialized as a familiar weapon, an Arc-Lite implosion rifle. He had overseen the failed weapon system, but had fallen in love with it's gleaming black barrel and phase inductors, all the seductive technology man could invest in a weapon. He sighted the first IC and he shredded it, the second evaded once and then suffered the same fate. None had any defense against custom built weapons like his. The third evaded twice and struck, but only met empty cyberspace. Carlyle flanked the IC, a bulky and powerful thing. He accessed it, in in a blink of an eye had taken control of the attack program. He spent a few precious seconds rewriting it's core directive. The program blinked as it processed its new orders. It rotated, detecting it's new enemies. There was the Iron Ghost (ally) and 16 logged data users (enemy). The computer technicians were in for a surprise, a very unpleasant surprise. The IC moved rapidly, executing it's attack program and patterns, four of the installation technicians and computer engineers were dumped from the system, nasty. And three others were severely injured before they were able to take down their own IC.
By then, the ghost was long gone.
The Ghost in the Machine
Carlyle is a computer hack without equal, as easily at home in cyberspace as in real space. Both realms are equally real to a man part machine. This hacking skill has allowed him to remain abreast of technological developments as well as keeping his pockets padded and his information protected. This is also when Carlyle gained his moniker as the Iron Ghost. His avatar always appeared the same, a man with a robotic head, and he was untouchable by the first generation of CogNet hackers and computer users. The only things that were able to stop him were direct interventions by the full size AISC systems, or coordinated defenses with extensive IC and human counter-hackers.
A favored tactic by Carlyle was reprogramming IC and security systems to recognize him as a valid user, and all previous users as now being illegal intruders. He also took great pleasure in hacking the operational systems of robot and droid craft. More than one of his hacking raids has started with hacking into a drone motorpool and sending drones on random tasks.
After hacking the AISC databases and his own skill with computers, the Iron Ghost built his own AISC, Nemesis. Nemesis is a sarcastic, sadistic AISC, who takes great pleasure in destroying things and crushing 'her' opponents. Nemesis appears as a stern woman dressed entirely in grey, wearing glittering amethyst jewelry. She is a schemer without equal, and prefers brute force over subtlety. She has a small pistol strapped to her leg, which she can expand into a bazooka sized weapon that she uses when dealing with IC, hackers, and other nuisances in cyberspace.
Since being created, Nemesis has secured several android bodies for herself and can easily interact with non-computer users. She favors asian female bodies, but always has them heavily modified for combat, and durability. Nemesis has a fetish for pistols, and takes a disturbing amount of pleasure in killing humans in the real world. She typically accompanies Carlyle in person as a body guard, and in this capacity can generally control 6 android bodies at the same time. Nemesis can control more than this, but doing so requires delegating more autonomous action to the units, acting more as a director than acting through the bodies.
The Amerikkan Connection
Carlyle is one of the major backers of Amerikka Command, providing them with heavy weapons and he was instrumental in establishing, and training the AC Cyber Corps. He is no fan of the Atlantic Federation, which he feels has failed to be the proper successor of the United States. He particularly dislikes the existence of the Corporate Party in the Federation government, and has worked to make sure that AC raids target corporate targets first and foremost. He has refused leadership positions within the Amerikka Command, he prefers to instead act as an adviser and arms supplier.
The Man with the Golden Gun:
Carlyle is anti-corporate weapons designer and smuggler. He will arm anyone with the right agenda and the money, especially if they have the money. The PCs are part of a special investigation or special forces that have been deployed with the intent of finding the Iron Ghost and eliminating him and his supply of weapons to insert group of radical insurgents. The PCs now have to go toe to toe with a man centuries old, heavy armed, and vastly prepared for them. Even if they do shoot him, and 'kill' him, Carlyle has a clone body prepared that his spirit can retreat to as long as he has a connection to the CogNet.
Die Another Day
The PCs have killed the Iron Ghost, but he's reappeared and is now taking a specific interest in hunting down and punishing every member of the team that took him down. Now the new PCs have to find the Iron Ghost before he hunts down and kills all the members of his own execution team. Making things more interesting, Nemesis in involved, hijacking civilian androids and other automated systems, such as possessing a sanitation truck to run over people, or the food prep bots in a kitchen, dumping cleaning chemicals into their food.
The World is Not Enough
Carlyle is more than a man these days, and long ago he sated his hunger for material things.Now he wants greater and greater things. He supports Amerikka Command for the time being because they suit his purpose, but he has greater designs. He wants to take control of the Atlantic Federation and the Pacific Rim Coalition and created a reformed American Superstate, and then it's just one domino after another toppling and conquering the rest of the world powers. Then, it's conquering the colonies, and the space habitats. Along the way he plans on perfecting his immortality techniques, refining AISC technology, and creating smarter, better humanity to be worthy of the world he wants to create.