|“||Don't worry, Penny! I'm here to protect you! I'll keep you safe from everything! Safe from villains, from Rikti, from heroes, from boys! You'll be my little Clockwork Princess, safe and happy forever!||„|
|~ The Clockwork King|
The Clockwork King, originally named Russel Brandt, is a early established villain in the M.M.O. City of Heroes. He fancies himself a master inventor yet he frequently comes off as a scatter-brain. Even a scatter-brain can be dangerous in a giant clockwork automated body.
The Clockwork were first sighted in 2002 - at first a curiosity as the mechanized soldiers roamed the streets. Soon the Clockwork were an annoyance, stealing bits of wire, foundation debris and raiding construction sites. When one police officer decided to put his foot down and stop the raids he met his end to the diligent machines, which barely slowed down due to the interference. The police clamped down on the dwarf-sized gear-wound soldiers once they saw they were capable of murder and began to organize task-forces with local heroes of Paragon City. The hero and police officer Blue Steel, lead a raid on what was confirmed to be these Clockworks' headquarters, an old, thought abandoned factory. Inside though, Blue Steel and his men found the factory had been repurposed and they had found the manufacturing plant of the Clockwork. Directing the operation was a young man in ragged cloths, presumably homeless, or previously homeless. The man shortly noticed the police and commanded his army of wind-up minions attack. Blue Steel lost his men in the fight. In his rage, Blue Steel smashed the Clockwork to literal pieces and beat the young-man to a pile of broken bones. Exhausted, Blue Steel radioed in the situation then had to leave to fight a fire near-by.
By the time the rest of the police-force and paramedics arrived the man was gone, as were a few Clockwork. Blue Steel was shocked, his general conclusion was that the man was somehow still alive despite his broken state and the Clockwork had bought him off to safety. Some time later the Clockwork would re-emerge, this time lead by a massive Clockwork, with a brain-in-a-jar perched on-top-of it. The massive villain called himself "The Clockwork King" and with him at the reigns the Clockwork organized into a blight on Paragon City.
As one starts in City of Heroes, the Clockwork are among the first set of enemies asked to be dealt with on a regular basis. Yet still the Clockwork distinguish themselves as one of the more dangerous early level enemies. Prior to level 10 the Clockwork are -the- most dangerous of foes, easily overshadowing the Hellions and Skulls but quickly put to shame once the Circle of Thorns becomes involved. The early level contacts that wish to deal with the Clockwork directly are looking for why the Clockwork attack and how they work. Initial investigation shows the Clockwork steal but rarely anything valuable. The Clockwork steal construction materials, scrap-yard fragments and classical gears to build more Clockwork, money, gold and assets often ignored to pursue any materials in the area. Fighting them reveals the Clockwork each seem to have an A.I. as they act and interact separately, yet they still all move as one in a group. Taking apart the Clockwork to find out what goes into making reveals two major discoveries - The first is the Clockwork should not have A.I.s noting about them shows any sign of supporting independent thought, they have no chips, circuits, positronic brains - they are just pieces of junk put together in a humanoid shape that moves on it's own; The second thing discovered in this take apart of The Clockwork is they shouldn't even function as wind-up soldiers - they are not even wind-up toy grade, the gears and cranks do not do what gears and cranks are supposed to do. Nothing about Paragon City's signature robotic menace makes any sense functioning as robots. All that is certain about the Clockwork is they are a danger to the public and their Clockwork master is more interested in building materials than wealth or power.
Synapse's Task Force
The Truth comes to a head during Synapse's Task Force (The earliest possible Task Force in the game) with the Clockwork King in Synapse's sights. Synapse is a member of the Freedom Phalanx, the game's signature super-heroes. Synapse is running down the Clockwork and wants their menace put down to prevent them from getting any stronger (than level 20, hence why most Clockwork will not spawn in the game past the Task Force's level). Fighting the "Dukes", and other "members of the Clockwork Court" will reveal where the parts and factories dedicated building the Clockwork are coming from. Synapse sends Players to his friend Positron - another member of the Freedom Phalanx, to get a wave scrambler to disrupt the signal the Clockwork King admits, so once he is defeated he can not simply animate and call more Clockwork to break him out of jail. To build the device, Positron needs to analyze the signal the Clockwork respond to and it is in this the truth is revealed - The Clockwork are not robots, not even advanced wind-up toys. The Clockwork are literally just animate junk. The Clockwork King is not the master mechanist he fancies himself as, he is in-fact a psychic, telekineticly animating the materials he steals in vaguely humanoid-shapes. With the disruptor built the Task Force is sent to the Clockwork King's lair to defeat and arrest The Clockwork King, putting an end to the metal scourge once and for all.
Just passed Synapse's post is a zone called Faultline, a section of the city that suffered major damage from a Earth-quake themed super-villain named "Faultline" - though as the investigation lead by Faultline's remorseful son reveals, there was far more to his father than the infamous super-villain. The story line in Faultlne is entirely linear - all contacts in the zone serve one purpose that is interconnected and they all introduce eachother, for Heroes, this is also the infamous zone when Arachnos are first introduced as part of the story-line. The second to last contact in the zone is a girl named Penelope Yin. Penelope Yin is the daughter of a local store owner in Faultline who wants to save her father from an Arachnos plot involving the history of Faultline. Penelope is surrounded by Clockwork soldiers. Penelope explains she is psychic, her powers had recently awakened and she is testing them with her own version of The Clockwork. She had apparently been discovering her powers by talking to The Clockwork King. Penelope states that The Clockwork King never meant anyone any harm, and she views him as a second father-figure. According to Penelope, The Clockwork King never meant to hurt anyone, he discovered his powers as a young man, but near as she can tell, he did not know he was psychic, he just thought he was an engineering genius. In truth The Clockwork King did not know the first thing about engineering and the devices he was awe-struck with were just working because he thought they should - a subconscious activation of his powers, maintained by the blind confidence he had in his own "master mechanical skills". In correspondence with Penelope Yin, Clockwork King realizes he is a fraud, his powers are psychic and he is not the genius he thought he was. By all accounts as of this point Clockwork stop working because Clockwork King stops thinking they can. However Penelope keeps in contact with The Clockwork King, trying to help him come to terms with his powers and learning how to hone her own along the way. Thus Paragon City's criminal mastermind is not only arrested but gives up his life of crime and becomes functionally powerless in his old capacity - yet repurposed as a mentor to one of the main psychics of tomorrow.
Lady Gray's Task Force
Clockwork King makes a final appearance as an antagonist. The Vanguard are a coalition of militaries as one independent force lead by Lady Gray, designed to defend the planet from extra-terrestrial threats. Lady Gray is moving to resolve the Rikti menace. Penelope Yin is used as a correspondent to analyze the Rikti's psychic capabilities but then kidnapped by the Rikti. In an attempt to save Penelope, Heroes and Villains (both are recruitable as the planet is at stake against the Rikti) the Task Force will encounter The Clockwork King - now with an army of fully psychic Clockwork. Clockwork King is there to save Penelope from the Rikti and views the Task Force and Vanguard as just more people putting her in danger. Clockwork King fights the Task Force, now with his Clockwork all projecting psychic blasts, as he realizes they do not function as robots but psychic puppets he can project from. Fully in control of his powers Clockwork King is a much greater challenge, yet only a first boss on the Task Force's run to stop the Rikti. Upon his defeat Lady Grey makes no interest in arresting the Clockwork King. Penelope had intentionally called Clockwork King telepathically when it looked like the Rikti were about to get her. Though he is an escaped criminal Penelope Yin vouches for him and Clockwork King seems only interested in protecting his "Clockwork Princess" as of this point in the story-line. Though a greater threat while fully in control of his powers, Clockwork King becomes a non-threat - his former delusion dispelled and repurposed as that of a guardian for a newly awakened psychic do-gooder.