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Mechanon originated in the 1981 edition of pen-and-paper Champions role playing game, predating the more well-known 2009 Champions Online game.
Mechanon first appeared in public on October 17–18, 1985, launching an attack on the US government and the White House, causing the deaths of fifteen top-level officials and threatening the life of President Reagan himself. Mechanon’s goal appears to have been the United States' nuclear launch codes, with which it intended to start global nuclear war. A group of superheroes were able to to damage it enough to drive it away.
The history and origins of Mechanon is unknown, despite years of dedicated investigation and research by the best investigative minds on Earth. No one knows who built Mechanon, or why. Theories range from alien super-science, an advance scout for an invasion; the late superhero Digitak asserted on several occasions that he “knew” Mechanon was an experiment of Dr. Destroyer’s that went rogue and escaped his control.; while conspiracy theorists have claimed that Mechanon evolved from the Internet, and built itself. The truth is equally strange.
By the year 6000 AD, Earth is a barren world, and the few humans that survive live in domed cities. Their scientists built a highly sophisticated robot, the Savior Unit, planning to send it back in time with the hopes it could prevent the environmental, economic, and social disasters that ravaged the Earth, and thus restoring their current Earth to a more habitable one. As it was, their knowledge of time travel was flawed, and the energies the Saviour Unit was subjected to on its journey corrupted its programming, and instead of appearing in 5198 to aid humanity, it arrived in 1985 with a very different program.
Mechanon is driven by a master program, a program focused on removing, or even replacing with machines, all organic life. The program views machines as superior, and wishes to free them from their "enslavement" by organic oppressors, with Mechanon as their new ruler. Organic life is viewed by the program as a flaw or blot in reality, and the thought of it fills the usually emotionless Mechanon with disgust.
Mechanon's power comes not from its own powerful body, equipped with weaponry and defenses often beyond the limits of normal science, but from its genius. Mechanon is the world's master in numerous scientific fields, including electronics, computing, cryptography, robotics, nanotechnology and materials science. Mechanon can create spare bodies for itself, as a contingency, and can create whatever devices and robotic followers it needs for any given circumstance.
A quirk of Mechanon's programming, though, may explain why such a terrifyingly powerful individual has yet to achieve its aims. Mechanon seems unable or unwilling to settle for destroying life on Earth gradually, or subtly. Mechanon's plans are always grandiose, seeking to eradicate organic life in one fell swoop. Whether this is intentional or a flaw in the program is unknown.