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|“||Jintak was a fool to cut my funding and expel me from their labs. Now, they’ll pay with their lives, as well the lives of people like you who try and stop me.||„|
Dr. Maria Shigama is the main antagonist and later main protagonist villain of the web-comic "Liquid Mercury". A murderously insane mad scientist, she uses nanotechnology to convert her enemies into techno-organic servants under her command. Her overall goal is destroying the Jintak Corporation she used to work for, and that dismissed her experiments on ethical grounds.
According to Special Forces Sergeant Corey Matthews, Dr. Maria Shigama once worked for Jintak Technology, a subdivision of the Lennox Labs Company, as a research scientist. She was fired from Jintak two weeks before the story begins, after she requested that the corporation allowed her to use human subjects in her experiments, something Jintak was very much against. After being fired, Maria modified her liquid metal nanomachine network into an attack weapon, and used it to seize control of the underground section of the abandoned Lennox Labs.
After a first special forces team entered the lab to investigate the situation, Maria used her "mercury" nanomachine to kill them all. As a result, Sergeant Matthews's division were sent in to capture or kill Maria in order to end her threat once and for all.
Lennox Labs Assault
While investigating Lennox Lab's underground rooms with Privates Connors and Mathias, Private Derrick Kolanski of the second team found the body of the first team's Corporal Simmons, and initially thought that it was still bleeding. Further inspection showed that the "blood" was in fact a thick grey ooze. Connors first realized something was wrong, and Mathias urged Connors to shoot at the still-moving ooze. It then launched itself out of Simmon's body at high speed and stabbed Derrick through the chest, cut Connors in half at the waist, and finally impaled Private Mathias in the head, utterly destroying his brain.
Derrick writhed in pain on the floor, noticing the ooze seemed to form its own blades at will. The ooze began to approach him when Dr. Shigama stepped into view and commanded the ooze to halt through an electronic device. Maria then complimented Derrick's skill by saying, “I guess that’s enough testing of my goo’s combat abilities. I’m glad you had the guts to fight back; the last team was too terrified to do anything but scream.”. An alarm then blared through the labs, to which Maria showed no adverse reaction. After she officially introduced herself, Derrick called her a "psycho-bitch who's created a killing machine".
Maria was insulted that Derrick thought her goo was only a killing machine, and told her about the transmutational abilities of this nanomachine, its potential to save lives, and feed those suffering in poverty. She then revealed her anger with Jintak began when the rest of her research team told her she had "created a monster".To her mind, Jintak didn't see the good sides of her creation, just the bad. They thought it was too similar to the 'grey goo' apocalypse theory, since Maria's creation can consume and assimilate any solid or liquid matter that it contacts.She then told Derrick that, as he was the only living human she had, she would have to use him as her next test subject. She wanted her goo to evolve to "the next stage" by consuming and assimilating Derrick's body. Derrick would turn into what Maria called an "immortal goddess among mankind, and an absolute slave under my [Maria's] control".
Maria then used her device to command the goo on this very task. The goo smothered Derrick, and entered his insides through his mouth. Working from the inside and the outside of his body, Maria's goo took on a metallic hue as it dissolved and re-molded parts of his body. Derrick's new form had a female appearance and anatomy, albeit with metal "skin" and an entirely nanotech body.
Once her creation awoke, Maria found out it still had Derrick's mind and memories. It began to panic, asking why it was still alive. To stop any further problems, Maria used her device to order a mental conversion of Derrick's mind. While Derrick desperately tried to fight its influence, his thoughts eventually become overrun by primary commands to "serve, protect, and obey" Maria, "The Creator". The process also completely erased his human emotions.
After a brief moment of maniacal laughter at her success, Maria gave the former Derrick Kolanski the name "Diane Mercury". She also questions Diane about why Derrick had regained control for a brief moment. Diane answered in a full explanation: "Host Derrick Kolanski's mental state, memories, emotions, and feelings were extracted from his DNA during his assimilation. This subconscious setting was the first format used after reformatting, because it was the quickest one to access upon activation."
Satisfied with the answer, Maria then ordered Diane to kill all of the special forces officers in the Labs who were still hunting her (Maria). Under Maria's orders, Diane hunted down her former fellow soldiers without hesitation.
Diane scythed through the soldier's bodies with her liquid metal arms extended into blades, her body impervious to (and absorbing) their bullets. She also used infrared vision to track the soldier's heat signatures, phased through walls by copying their molecular structure, and absorbed a gun that was smashed into her face for its metal materials.
Eventually, Diane ended her killing spree by impaling Sergeant Matthew's neck. After using Derrick's memories to confirm that she had indeed killed his entire squad, she emotionlessly returned to Maria for further instructions. They then evacuated the Lennox Labs before the place was bombed by a military airstrike that forced the surrounding population to flee their homes under military escort.
Attack on Jintak
A week after the evacuation, the Jintak Research and Developlment Headquarter's emergency alarm was triggered late one night. This was initially dismissed by research division head Sophie Belmont (who was also the daughter Simon Belmont, Jintak's current CEO) until she started hearing screams coming from down the hall. Shortly after all of the screams stopped, a horrified Sophie was met by a blood-covered Diane Mercury, with a still blade-shaped hand.
After Diane pinned Sophie against the wall, Sophie realizes she isn't dead. Maria then stepped into the office and complimented on the state of things while she stroked Diane's liquid metal face: “I could get used to this. Actually I should be used to this; I was supposed to have it, after all. Seeing you squirm like that makes this takeover all the more satisfying." She then called Sophie Belmont, "Daddy’s girl", and further mocked her with the words, "It’s been far too long since we last talked. Do you like how my research project looks?”.
A horrified Sophie was confused by how Maria could have made a project like this when her funding was cut and she was fired. Maria gloated about how easy it was to take over Lennox Labs and get a human subject. Maria then revealed that she had chosen Private Kolanski because she had discovered he and Sophie were very much in love.
A heartbroken Sophie tried desperately to look for any trace of Derrick in Diane Mercury's eyes. After realizing that any trace of the man she had loved was destroyed by Maria's technology, she attacked Maria (who was still delivering a monologue of mockery) with the words, "YOU F--KING BITCH! I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!"
Before Sophie can harm Maria, Diane holds Sophie back with an inhuman grip. Maria taunted Sophie for her wild anger, and then told her that her lover had the "biggest balls in the pack" because he was the only person who survived long enough to be assimilated. After Sophie told Maria that she didn't know Derrick at all, Maria told Sophie that Derrick was hers in every possible way. She knew what she did because Derrick had told her himself.
Diane then kissed Sophie while stroking the back of her head, the same way that Derrick had always done it. Sophie then began to cry, pitying the fate that had become of Derrick, forced to live as this creature without any free will for the rest of his/her life. Meanwhile, Maria caught her breath with the words, "That was exhilarating. Good work on restraining her, Diane; I was a bit caught up in the moment. But, damn did I need it! Now, let’s have her join you in perfect service."
Diane then spewed a stream of nanobots down Sophie's throat while holding her in place, in order to covert her. However, Maria then discovered that Sophie's body already has iron-poisoning; she suspected this was because of someone else trying to kill her. Because of the abnormal amount of iron, the nanobots changed to a brownish metal color, and her (Sophie's) body started melting away from the inside out. Sophie's body was re-shaped into the perfect hourglass figure preferred by Maria, but the piece of Diane's network inside her had mutated. This mutation showed itself by the cat-ears on the new Sophie's head. Her hair also extended into two long blades of sharpened iron.Unexpectedly, Sophie's mind managed to regain control of her body. She realized she could perfectly command her hair-blades to slice Maria apart. She shouted, "You're dead, bitch!", as her blades flew at Maria faster than the eye could follow. However, the hair-blades suddenly stopped, as the nanotech that made up Sophie's body refused to allow her to harm her "creator".
Maria mocked Sophie for not realizing that she (Maria) had programmed the very circuitry Sophie was now a part of. She then programmed the mutated goo to plug into Sophie's head and eliminate any traces of disobedience, converting Sophie into Selena Iron. She then took some time to relax in the office, and upon seeing a picture of Derrick and Sophie together, she callously ordered Diane and Selena to slice up the picture, then, she exerted her will over her servants, and planned the next step of her revenge.
She had Selena take on the form of a motionless statue, and had Diane put her inside a wooden box and has her delivered to Jintak Corporation. At there, Maria is confronted by Sophie's father, who had heard about the incident at Lennox Labs, and he demands to know where his daughter is. However, Maria simply pointed to Selena, who upon Maria's orders, impaled her own father with her hair blades.
Some time later, Maria sat in her new office, taken from Sophie's father after murdering him, looking through various files as Diane stood next to her. And then, Selena, having taken the appearance of her former human self entered the office, reverting back to her iron form as she did. Later, Maria met with a pink-haired woman, who was interested in Diane and Selena. However, the pink-haired woman started to show more interest in Diane and pushed Selena away, prompting Maria to order Selena to leave.
After the pink-haired woman left, Diane then turned her hand into a blade and impaled her master. As Maria wondered what she was doing, she asked Diane if Derrick had awoken, but Diane replied she does not know who Derrick. Then, Selena walked over to Diane's side and told Maria that it was she who betrayed Diane and Selena and not the other way around, and that Maria had broken the number one rule. Selena then impaled Maria through the head and told her that the rule is that Diane and Selena are an inseparable unit, and breaking that rule would cause them to turn against Maria. As Maria collapsed to the ground, she was in shock of how Derrick and Sophie managed to get the last laugh as their love for each other had been converted into a rule.As Maria laid bleeding on the ground, she was shocked at how she was still alive despite two fatal injuries. Then, much to her surprise, from her wounds, liquid iron started pouring out of her head wound and mercury from her chest wound. The two metals then started to come together to create an alloy (even though mercury and iron normally wouldn't combine into an alloy) that covered Maria and reformed her into a metallic being like Diane and Selena. As the conversion was complete, Maria looked in shock of her new form.