Chapter One: Prelude & Prologue.



Tokyo, Japan. 2003.

Smart Brain. A multi-trillion yen Japanese conglomerate created in the late 1980's which took the country by storm after a series of lucrative takeovers during the "Lost Decade" of the late 1990's. A household name in its origin country, as well as worldwide, Smart Brain's peak was in the early twenty-first century, where their logo was ubiquitous with high quality goods. It took the world by storm, and nearly every food, electronics, production, construction, real estate, and medical company was bought and absorbed into the massive corporation to advance the betterment of humanity.

Or so it was said.

At the same time, deep-space exploration was a technological industry that was beginning to attract more and more of the most brilliant researchers in the field at the time. Though Smart Brain had assets in that field, funding for it wasn't necessarily the top company priority at the time. They had other, more pressing interests.

Biotechnology and genetic engineering for one. High strength tensiles and superconductive materials for another.

Perhaps if they paid more attention things wouldn't have gone the way they did.



Tokyo, Japan. Unknown time, 2003-2004.

The fourth year of the new millennium was rife with tragedy for the citizens of Tokyo, Japan. A deadly series of murders occurred for that year, sometimes every day of the week. Other than the fact so many people had died, was the circumstances surrounding their leave from the world. Unknown to most of the populace was that nearly every murder had resulted in the victims turning to ash. The media, fueled by the lobbyists, had swept it under the rug, declaring the strange happenings as an urban legend, that "there was nothing to be afraid of". At the same time, the Smart Brain company had started its famous " 'Life is frail. Life is limited. So, why don't you think about true life? Be smart! True life is your start!' " campaign.

But urban legends had a sliver of truth present. And the people of Tokyo knew that as well.

The men saw strange beings. They were clad in gray, like they were carved out of stone to as monsters of another age. They were terrifying and beautiful. People whom they killed were consumed by a blue flame before they turned into ash. But the public had not known their name, preferring to call them beasts and monsters instead.

They were the Orphenoch.

Men, women, and children throughout Tokyo everywhere had been wrought with fear. And who could blame them? These beasts were disguised like you or I. These beasts consumed men in their flames indiscriminately. These beasts would walk in the light of day without fear of retaliation.

But the plight of men had not gone unheeded.

The guardians of humanity had arrived. Red, yellow and blue. Circle, triangle, and cross. Dressed in pitch black armor, their colors adorned them; defined them.

They were the Kamen Riders.

In hushed words their deeds had been passed on. They were the heroes of Tokyo, the light in the darkness. Their fists of justice had no equal as they rode through the streets, these "Masked" Riders. In time the legend of the Riders had faded into mythology, their stories revered by young boys to emulate and imitate.

Unbeknownst to them, the heroes and villains had come from the same abyss.

The Orphenoch? Humans, reborn after death into creatures who fed on humanity to survive, some willing, some not.

The Riders? Orphenochs themselves, or at least humans who possessed some of their genes. Originally created to serve their King, their powers were stolen in order to aid man against their eventual conquest by the beasts. Sometimes stolen by others, but always returning to the same wielders.

And the origin of both? Smart Brain. The company at some time was taken over by the Orphenochs, with the intent of converting humanity into their species like they had been. The Rider Gear was built by their research facility in order to find and protect their King, the supreme being of their race whose power had the ability to evolve them even further.

But there had been a resistance. There were Orphenochs and humans that had banded together in order to foil Smart Brain's plot. Though their journey had been on a road not steady, they had accomplished their goal. Smart Brain, through their efforts, had effectively been dissolved, their assets partitioned into the original companies from which they had been assembled from. With this, their technology and methods were also exposed to the economy. What had resulted was an international free for all to claim every piece of classified tech from the ashes of the Japanese conglomerate. The only secret that had remained was the Orphenoch. Even so, the spoils of the company had reignited the fields of science, and a new age of human advancement was born. What had accompanied that, which nobody could have foresaw, was how drastic that advancement would change the world.



5 Months After the Dissolution of Smart Brain Enterprises:

2341 missiles. Two-thousand-three-hundred-forty-one missiles locked on to various regions of the Land of the Rising Sun. All 2341 were shot down by a single human sized unit, dubbed the White Knight. Every single national military were wondering what kind of advanced piece of engineering could destroy the pride and joy of their respective country's military might in less than two moves. They were furious and terrified at the same time. In their frenzy nations worldwide attempted to capture the White Knight and take its power, if not to keep it away from their enemies otherwise. The White Knight disappeared, but its story does not yet end there.

The White Knight's creator, Shinonono Tabane had brought her creation to public eyes and national parties alike. She dubbed the White Knight and her subsequent creations as I.S, or Infinite Stratos, since it was created from the fundamentals of space-exploratory powered exoskeletons. With the I.S. revealed, nations in all their wisdom had created the "Alaska Treaty", which stated that the I.S. never be used in military combat and that all technology concerning the platform be distributed to all other countries. The I.S. with all its advancements had changed the face of political, economic, and technological systems worldwide.

Perhaps the most important factor that the I.S. had affected were the male and female social dynamic. The I.S. in all of its splendor had one debilitating drawback; it could only be used by women. Not preferable, not aligned to, but completely unable to be used by anyone other than those with two "X" chromosomes. Needless to say, a gender based paradigm shift had taken place almost overnight. The world had become the feminist's utopia, where women had replaced men as the dominant sex, starting with the I.S. field and subsequently bleeding out into the rest.



Ten years after those seemingly unrelated events, there would be a few select people who would rock the world yet again. This time with stakes much higher than their own lives.

Infinite Stratos: Exceed Charge.