Prologue

Testing... testing raz, dva, tri... very well then, it seems it is working properly. Zdravstvuite, to all of you who see this. Some of you already have knowledge of the first four Robot Rebellions, of the first four times Robot Masters led by a madman threatened the world. If you would like, you may skip this opening without missing anything. Those of you who do not know, or simply wish for a refresher course, may listen to me for a short time while I explain the events that led up to the chronicle you will shortly witness.

In the Earth year 2040, the Third World War ended. This terrible struggle, involving widespread use of nuclear weapons by all parties, came ludicrously close to destroying the Earth. Sometimes I am ashamed to call myself a member of such a foolish species as homo sapiens. At the very end, when the planet stood on the brink of total collapse, the knowledge finally seemed to penetrate the two-foot-thick layer of derr'mo which seemed to line the skulls of the world leaders. The result of that was a unanimous declaration of world peace and a pooling of resources brought on by a frenzied urge not for personal survival, but for the future existence of our entire species. The most valuable contribution made by all countries was not food, not drinkable water, not power, but knowledge. Scientests. The best and brightest thinkers on the Planet Earth joined forces and bent all their knowledge to one goal-pulling planet Earth back from the brink we had pushed it to. They named themselves the Second Rainbow, after the biblical story of the flood, and God's promise with the rainbow never to take such disastrous steps again... this was humanity's own rainbow, our own promise. My own father, Yuri, was a biologist in the Second Rainbow, working feverishly to develop cures for the diseases, both engineered and wild, that afflicted humanity after World War III.

However, arguably the greatest geniuses of that group were two young men who did not work in human flesh, but in robotic circuitry. To my father and the others, they were Tom and Al... but to the rest of the world, they were Dr. Light and Dr. Wily. As years went on, and the Second Rainbow gradually coaxed Earth back into life, Light and Wily's experiments reached a new, dangerous level. They announced that they could create humanoid robots with electronic minds far beyond any before them... minds that, while remaining in servitude to the Three Rules of Robotics, could understand complex tasks, direct and command lesser robots, and obey and give back verbal commands that were not preprogammed into them. Robots who were almost sentient... almost human. ROBOT MASTERS.

All in secret, Light and Wily created their first Robot Master. The prototype, who externally could not be told apart from a human boy of thirteen or fourteen. His name... was Blues, and he was activated in 2067. By the time the Second Rainbow had disbanded, their most pressing work accomplished for the time being and the group split into opposing factions over whether or not Robot Masters were safe, Blues had developed a strange personality all his own. In a way, he was almost like a son to Light, a nephew to Wily. Then in 2069, the three of them were testing a new device. A matter teleporter that went haywire, catching both Blues and Wily in an overload. Blues was whisked away, lost without a trace, potentially anywhere on the entire planet... and he didn't come back. As for Wily, he wasn't teleported; he was left behind, suffering no damage. Or so it seemed.

A year later, Light and Wily had moved on. Finally obtaining a government permit for the Robot Masters, they created eight designs. Two to be individual models, like Blues had been... a "boy" named Rock, and a "girl" named Roll. The other six were to be mass-produced, and sold for widespread use. These designs would be named Bomb Man, Guts Man, Cut Man, Elec Man, Ice Man and Fire Man. It soon became apparent that there was a difference between Rock and Roll, who developed personalities like Blues had, and the other six, who while nice enough fellows did not seem to have the spark of individuality. In later times, that latter type would become the norm for Robot Masters, and the more intelligent "Advanced" breed would be nearly never made again. Regardless, the Robot Masters sold well... until Wily changed their purpose forever, plunging the world into a new era of darkness.

Matter teleportation, by now, had been proven to have seriously damaging effects on the human brain. Humans could not use it, or they would go insane. As Wily did. Reprogramming the prototype six Robot Masters and gaining control of the mass-produced ones, in addition to armies of lesser robots, seized key positions the world over and demanded that Earth surrender entirely to him. The first Robot Rebellion. At this betrayal, the Light family decided they would have to deal with him... one of them in particular. Rock Light volunteered to be upgraded with armor, a plasma-shooting arm cannon and a variable weapons system that allowed him to copy and imitate the signature attacks of destroyed Robot Masters. He became a battle machine, who the planet dubbed Mega Man. Six Robot Masters were engaged, and six Robot Masters were destroyed. And then, deep inside Wily's Skull Fortress, the insane doctor was captured and arrested. The nightmare was over, Mega Man could be set aside, and Rock could return to his life.

Alas, life is never that simple. Wily was released from prison on parole, if you can believe that. I still can't, and I saw it happen with my own eyes. It wasn't long before the Second Robot Rebellion occured, as Wily created eight new Robot Masters of his own for the sole purpose of conquering the world for him. Metal Man, Bubble Man, Heat Man, Wood Man, Air Man, Crash Man, Flash Man, Quick Man. Again, Mega Man went forth and again, Wily was defeated, sent to prison once more.

2072 saw the blight come again... but not in the same way, at all. Wily was released from prison again, true, on an insanity plea coupled by the treatment of Dr. Cedric Froid, a renowned psychologist who was, like me, the son of a Second Rainbow member. Froid and a politician named Donald Richolds successfully sprung Wily... and the doctor DIDN'T go off the deep end. Instead, he rejoined the Lights, and soon he and Thomas Light had plans for a new robot unlike any other. Using revolutionary new energy storage minerals discovered by a rival robotics company, the europe-based Sennet Robotics, the two doctors began creating what they called the ultimate peace-keeping machine, a gigantic humanoid right out of comic books and cartoons. A war machine named Gamma.

The minerals being used were Energen Crystals, and they could only be mined in eight specific locations known to mankind. Sennet's own Robot Master models were mining them... until they went berserk and seized the mines. This time, though, no mastermind came forth, no threats were made. Wily declared his innocence, and there was no proof; the only purpose seemed to be luring Mega Man out into battle again. And so he went to fight Magnet Man, Top Man, Shadow Man, Spark Man, Hard Man, Needle Man, Snake Man and Gemini Man. In addition to those eight, Mega Man began encountering a strange red-and-grey Robot Master named Break Man with no known origin and no seeming goal aside from to interfere with Mega Man over and over again. As time passed, they progressed from enemies to rivals, and then almost to friends, even teaming up to destroy the last of the Robot Masters, Gemini Man. At which point the mastermind behind the Third Robot Rebellion had to make his move. The mastermind... a twisted, tortured, thoroughly insane soul... an Advanced Robot Master known as Doc Man.

Doc Man had been created by Dr. Wily during the first Rebellion as a guardian in his Skull Fortress, defeated and crippled by Mega Man, and left to die by his father. Thought dead by all, he managed to repair himself, but the physical and mental strain had taken its effects. His programming was warped, his mind shattered, and he could think only of one goal. Revenge, on both Mega Man and Wily. His father had built him with a hologram generator that allowed him to disguise himself as anybody in the world, robot or human. He had been masquerading as Froid, whom he had killed, the entire time in order to get Wily out of jail so he could be killed once Mega Man had fallen in the Rebellion. Once that failed, he confronted Mega Man directly in an extended series of battles and chases that stretched across four of the Energen Crystal Mines and culminated in his headquarters underneath Froid's house. There, Mega Man finally killed him, ending his tortured life.

And then... Wily moved. Doc Man had gotten him out to have his revenge... in other words, the old man WASN'T cured. Once Gamma neared completion, he whisked it off to his third Skull Fortress. Consumed with fury, Mega Man accepted Break Man's aid in getting inside, and advanced on Wily so that Gamma could be destroyed before its completion. He failed in that regard, but somehow, impossibly, Mega Man fought Gamma anyways... and won. However, Skull Fortress III's collapse nearly killed Mega Man and apparently did kill Wily. Break Man brought Mega Man back to the Lights to be repaired. And once Rock was awake, he revealed who he was. Not a new Robot Master at all... but the first, the prototype. Blues Light, returned from the African Congo where the teleporter malfunction had dropped him all those years ago. He had been unaware of Wily's insanity, and been hoodwinked into helping the Doc sabotage the efforts of Mega, whom he hadn't known at first. Eventually, though, he figured it out and helped Mega win the day. Wily was dead, and there had been nothing any of them had been able to do to save him. At least the world was safe now, with both Wily and Doc Man dead.

Except that Wily wasn't dead. His death had been faked. With the world convinced he no longer existed, he was free to build a plan for the Fourth Rebellion, three years later. But not under his name... no, he needed a patsy, somebody to use their name and take the blame, so that Wily could remain "dead." And I was the perfect choice. Dr. Sergei Cossack, formerly a genius robotocist working for Sennet who had resigned in protest over their warbots. Living in a family castle, an ancient edifice far out in the Russian wilderness, with only my daughter, Kalinka. And... Robot Masters, eight of them, my own designs. Pharaoh Man, Ring Man, Bright Man, Toad Man, Drill Man, Dust Man, Skull Man, Dive Man. I never intended them to carry the Fourth Robot Rebellion on their backs... but I had no choice. Wily kidnapped my daughter and ordered me to start a Rebellion, using an excuse of hatred for Light for overshadowing me in the robotics field. I did so. I had to. And yet... Mega Man destroyed all of my robotic children before coming for me. We fought... and he defeated me. And then... Blues came crashing through the roof, riding on one of Wily's fortress guardians, with Kalinka in his arms.

When the Rebellion had begun, Blues had decided something was up, and had gone investigating. Somehow, he had discovered Wily's Skull Fortress IV, where Kalinka had been kept prisoner. He broke her out and carried her for two weeks across the brutal Siberian winter. And yet... she survived, because of him. Mega Man went after Wily, of course... but this time, after being defeated, Wily escaped. He got away free. I was let off the hook with only a token sentence of community service-working with Dr. Light, as his new lab assistant-and we all waited.

For we knew, that sooner or later... a Robot Rebellion would come again.