|Note: The following project has been canceled. Renewed interest in it is possible, but not likely at this time.|
Mechanical Conflict is a 1998 TV series pitch by the Dozerfleet founder during the Cormorant era. It was inspired by One Must Fall: 2097 and by the artwork of the Dozerfleet founder's brother's then-classmate Anders Thieste. The storytelling of the short stories for it followed the logic of typical mecha tales in which mecha are piloted. Battles between the factions of robots were intended to be similar to Zord battles in Power Rangers. In spite similarities to the Gundam franchise, Mechanical Conflict was not inspired by it. The name Mechanical Conflict is intended to be a parody of Mortal Kombat.
Vicktronics, a government-sponsored organization that makes giant robots called "Vicktrons," becomes the only way to protect America from the threat of the Swedish terrorist group "The Society of the Spear (SOTS,)" which has begun its own breed of super-sized robots called "Spearoids." When Puerto Rico-based terrorists create the X-Klan, the scene becomes an ugly one of warring robots of every kind locked in a three-way war.
Along the way, the Vicktrons are assisted by a rubber-suited saboteur who climbs inside the Spearoids and interrupts operations for Spearoid pilots. This saboteur, code-named the "Rubber Phantom," is actually a lonely man named Harley Maraude. Towards the end of the series, Harley has a sexual relationship with a Spanish-born saboteur named Juanita "Olive Kitty" Bines. The two become very romantically involved, and decide to convince Vicktronics to forge a temporary alliance with the X-Klan to bring down SOTS forever.
The plan works, and all the robots surviving lay siege on the Society's base. The base turns out to be a giant Spearoid known as "Centispider." The SOTS second-in-command, a mutated half-man half-snake named the Vehement Viper, is killed in the battle. All the robots from all three factions are completely destroyed, but the war is over. Harley and Juanita get married in the finale.
The three warring factions of robot that fight all over the world are the Vicktrons, the Spearoids, and the X-Klan. The Vicktrons' designs were often very cluttered, chaotic, and varied in theme. The Spearoids were themed mostly after sharp objects, death-related items, and demons. The X-Klan were often modeled after insects and animals not believed to possess naphesh potential.
The first Vicktron to ever be used in battle was known as the Spiked Wanderer. He featured a visor on his head, anemone hair, and a mace for a left hand. His right hand was a loop of metal with several knife-like blades for fingers. He was one of the few Vicktrons to wear clothing, and was deemed generally impractical for most battles. More practical Vicktrons that would be used down the road included Hawkward, Hardtack Rebel, and others whose drawings were tossed and forgotten.
Most of the Spearoids had some sort of sharp object or death theme to them and their design. Death Lover, Doom Lover, and Doom Tank; for example; had the words "death" or "doom" directly in their names. The majority of the Spearoids were drawn by Anders, whereas the majority of the Vicktrons were drawn by the Dozerfleet founder. Many of the Spearoids either didn't come with names or were given new names that fit the goals of the series better. (E.g., Death Lover was originally known simply as "Death.") When Anders drew his Spearoids, he initially didn't believe that all the Spearoids should have been robots. Some of them were designed to look more like demons. Whichever models the Dozerfleet founder didn't believe at the time were appropriate for the goals of the series were modified and recolored to fit the agenda better.
The giant Spearoid motherbot Centispider only featured in the finale novel.
Not originally intended to be in the series, the Dozerfleet founder's brother experimented with some of his own drawings of evil robots. He argued that these robots were sort of a "medium side," not laying claim to any specific moral designation but simply existing and attacking both Vicktron and Spearoid aside. The X-Klan were later included into the series pitch, and the Dozerfleet founder created some of his own X-Klan robots. These include the Black Fly. X-Klan were set apart in that they were generally faster and more agile than either of the other factions. They were often not as powerful, but used their agility to give them an edge in battle.
Outside of the Vicktrons and their pilots, there were often few named protagonists that recurred. There were new guest protagonists in nearly every episode planned, including an asthmatic child who rescues his family from a Spearoid attack in Florida. The only truly recurring hero that was not a piloted Vicktron was the saboteur Harley "Rubber Phantom" Maraude. His suit design was inspired by that of the Phantom Ranger from Power Rangers: Turbo. His future wife, Juanita "Olive Kitty" Bines, only appeared in the finale.
The villains of the series were even less developed than the heroes. Much remains mysterious about the nature of the Society of the Spear. The second-in-command of the Society, however, is a melodramatic man mutated to be part-snake. This being, known as the Vehement Viper, often gave lengthy speeches and shouted orders.
Mechanical Conflict was canceled officially in June of 2000, following the return of the Dozerfleet founder from a trip to California. Interest in pursuing the development of Stationery Voyagers took precedence over the already-chaotic mess of developing this story.
Influence on later worksEdit
Many of the themes that were explored for the creation of this series would later be recycled in other works. These include the body designs of both human and supernatural characters. In addition, sexual themes would become more common in Dozerfleet works after Mechanical Conflict.
Romantic tensions amongst charactersEdit
The finale to Mechanical Conflict is the first work by Dozerfleet in which the sex lives of protagonists played a major role in complicating the decisions they were required to make, and the first time that sexual tension was ever even alluded to in a Dozerfleet work. In Stationery Voyagers (2000), character Neone Delft would be forced to deal with the scars of being forced into a sex ring as a prostitute. While Laura Herrante avoids the pitfalls of Vaneesa until the end of Final Hope, she is forever haunted by the fact that her immortality is only possible as long as she remains a virgin. Vaneesa's fall from the grace of the Crimson Owl was to hallmark her as being like Juanita. Sex would not be a theme again until Replox: Abstract Foundations (2001), where Andrea Schlemming's fornication with Charlie Rigsbelt before he became Molarity helped trigger the chemical disruption in her brain that led to her depression.
The first truly promiscuous non-villain character was Allison Rintel in Cursed is the Ground (2004), which was first proposed as a possible sequel to 90 Has No Secant (2002). While Allison was rebellious, she was not considered a genuine villain since she did nothing to intentionally harm the protagonists. Dewey Reynolds, one of the villains in 90, was the first reference to the existence of outright sexual predators in a Dozerfleet work. The sexual tension that occurs throughout the finale between Harley and Juanita became much of the inspiration behind the sexual tension between Candi and Donte in all versions of the Ciem trilogy. Juanita's borderline-masochistic phobia of being captured and beheaded became the basis for Candi's tamer fears of the same, a fear that is almost realized for her in Ciem 3. It becomes the primary means of execution of women for both the Hebbleskin Gang and Grapharino Universal Government.
The Vile Chameleon in Stationery Voyagers was modeled after the Vehement Viper. Vaneesa Abiyoti was almost a direct Navajo-like reinterpretation of Juanita, and her boyfriend Don Throndo was simply Harley Maraude given a mustache. Vaneesa reveals a gloomy picture of what Juanita's future could have been had she been captured. Denny Levens was originally to be a brown-haired version of Harley Maraude also.