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"A mechanized heart never misses a beat, and never falters with emotion. So why would anyone trust their life to a fragile muscle of flesh and blood?" - Viktor Viktor

The herald of a new age of technology, Viktor has devoted his life to the advancement of humankind. An idealist who seeks to lift people to a new level of understanding, he believes that only by embracing a glorious evolution of technology can humanity's full potential be realized. With a body augmented by steel and science, Viktor is zealous in his pursuit of this bright future.

Lore

Viktor was born in Zaun on the borders of the Entresol level, and, encouraged by his artisan parents, discovered a passion for invention and building. He devoted every waking minute to his studies, hating to interrupt his work even to eat or sleep. Even worse was having to rapidly relocate if there was a nearby chemical spill, accidental detonation, or incoming chem-cloud. Abandoning his work, even for a short time, was anathema to Viktor.

In a bid to impose a level of order and certainty on his world, Viktor researched Zaun's many accidents and came to realize that almost all of them were the result of human error, not mechanical failure. He offered his services to the local businesses, developing inventions that made them far safer working environments. Most turned him away, but one - the Fredersen Chem-forge - took a chance on this earnest young man.

Viktor's inventions in automation reduced the number of accidents in the forge to zero within a month. Soon, other establishments sought his work and Viktor's designs became common in Zaun, improving production with every innovation that removed human error from a process. Eventually, at the age of nineteen, he was surprised to be offered a place in Zaun's prestigious Academy of Techmaturgy. But Viktor's work had attracted the eye of Professor Stanwick of Piltover, who convinced him to leave Zaun and travel to Piltover's academy instead. There, he could work in the most advanced laboratories and gain access to all the resources the City of Progress could offer. Thrilled to be singled out, Viktor accepted his offer and took up residence in Piltover, where he refined his craft and sought to perfect his theorems in ways that would benefit everyone.

Viktor worked with Piltover's best and brightest; including an insufferable genius named Jayce Jayce. The two were equally matched in intellect, but where Viktor was methodical, logical, and thorough, Jayce was flamboyant and arrogant. The two worked together frequently, but never truly became friends. Often, the two would butt heads over their perceptions of intuition versus logic in the process of invention, but a level of mutual respect developed as each saw the flawed brilliance in the other.

In the midst of his studies in Piltover, a major chem-spill devastated entire districts of Zaun, and Viktor returned home to offer his help in the rescue efforts. By grafting a sophisticated series of cognitive loops upon existing automata-technology, he crafted a custom-built golem, Blitzcrank Blitzcrank, to help in the clean-up. Blitzcrank was instrumental in saving scores of lives and appeared to develop a level of sentience beyond anything Viktor had envisioned.

Even with the spill contained, Viktor remained in Zaun to help those afflicted by the released toxins. With the golem's help, he attempted to use his techmaturgical brilliance to save those whose lives had been blighted by the spill. Their attempt was ultimately unsuccessful in preventing more deaths, and the two parted ways. Though Viktor was distraught at the loss of life in Zaun, the work taught him a great deal about the merging of human anatomy with technology and how mortal anatomy could be enhanced with technology.

When Viktor returned to Piltover, weeks later, it was to find that Professor Stanwick had held a symposium on Blitzcrank and presented Viktor's research as his own. Viktor lodged formal complaints with the masters of the college, but his impassioned claim that he had designed Blitzcrank fell on deaf ears. He turned to Jayce to verify his claims, but his fellow student refused to speak up, further widening the rift between them, and the matter was decided in Professor Stanwick's favor.

Bitter, but resigned, Viktor returned to his studies, knowing that his ultimate goal of making people's lives better and enhancing humanity was more important than one stolen project and a bruised ego. He continued to excel, finding ever new ways to eliminate human error and weakness from his work, a facet of his research that came to dominate his thinking. He saw human involvement in any part of a process as a grossly inefficient aberration - a view that put him at odds with a great many of his fellow students and professors, who saw the very things Viktor sought to remove as the source of human ingenuity and creativity.

This came to a head during a reluctant collaboration with Jayce to improve the diving suits used to keep Piltover's docks clear of underwater debris and lingering chemical waste. Viktor and Jayce's enhanced suits allowed the wearer to go deeper, remain underwater for longer, and lift heavier weights. But many wearers claimed they saw phantom corpse lights in the depths or suffered from chem-induced hallucinations. When divers experienced such symptoms, they panicked and often got themselves or their fellow divers killed. Viktor saw the problem was not technical, but with the wearer's nerves unraveling in the inky depths. He devised a chem-shunt helm that allowed an operator on the surface to bypass the wearer's fear response and, effectively, control the diver. A heated discussion between Viktor and Jayce on free will and mental enslavement turned bitter - almost violent - and the two vowed never to work together again.

Jayce reported the incident to the college masters, and Viktor was censured for violating basic human dignity - though, in his eyes, his work would have saved many lives. He was expelled from the college, and retreated to his old laboratory in Zaun, disgusted by the narrow-minded perceptions of Piltover's inhabitants. Alone in the depths, Viktor sank into a deep depression, enduring a traumatic period of introspection for many weeks. He wrestled with the ethical dilemma he now faced, finding that, once again, human emotion and weakness had stood in his way. He had been trying to help, to enhance people beyond their natural capabilities to avoid error and save lives. Revelation came when he realized that he too had succumbed to such emotions, allowing his naive belief that good intentions could overcome ingrained prejudice to blind him to human failings. Viktor knew he could not expect others to follow where he did not go first, so, in secret, he ViktorSquare.png operated [S|L] on himself to remove those parts of his flesh and psyche that relied upon or were inhibited by emotion.

When the surgery was done, almost no trace of the young man who had traveled to Piltover remained. He had supplanted the majority of his anatomy with mechanical augmentations, but his personality had also changed. His idealistic hope to better society was refined into an obsession with what he called the Glorious Evolution.png Glorious Evolution. Viktor now saw himself as the pioneer of Valoran's future - an idealized dream where man would renounce flesh in favor of superior hextech augmentations. This would free humanity from fatal errors and suffering, though Viktor knew it was a task that would not be completed easily or quickly.

He threw himself into this great work with a vengeance. He used technological augmentations to help rebuild Zaunites injured in accidents, perfected breathing mechanisms, and worked tirelessly to reduce human inefficiency by decoupling physicality from emotion. His work saved hundreds of lives, yet seeking Viktor's help could be dangerous, as his solutions often brought unexpected consequences.

But if you were desperate, Viktor was the man you went to.

Some in Zaun, hearing fragments of his philosophy and seeing the successes of his work, saw him as a messianic figure. Viktor couldn't care less for them, viewing their quasi-religious cult as an aberration; yet another reason to eliminate emotional foibles and the belief in that which could not be empirically proven.

After a toxic event in the Sump saw hundreds of men and women in the Factorywood transformed into rabid psychotics, Viktor was forced to use a powerful soporific to sedate the victims and bring them back to his labs to try and undo the damage. The toxins had begun to eat away portions of their brains, but Viktor was able to slow the degenerative process by opening up their craniums and employing machinery to slowly filter their bloodstreams of poison. The technology available to him wasn't up to the task, and Viktor knew many people were going to die unless he found a way to greatly enhance his purgative machinery.

As he fought to save these people, he detected a surge in hextech energy from Piltover and saw immediately that this could give him the power he needed. He followed the powerful energy surge to its source.

Jayce's lab.

Viktor demanded Jayce hand over the source of this power, a pulsing Crystal Spires.png crystal from the Shuriman desert. But his former colleague refused, leaving Viktor no option but to take it by force. He returned to Zaun and hooked the strange crystal to his machinery, readying a steam golem host for each afflicted person in case their body gave out under the stress of the procedure. Empowered by the new crystal, Viktor's machines went to work and, gradually, the damage from the toxins began to reverse. His work would save these people - in a manner of speaking - and had Viktor retained more than a fragment of his humanity, he might have celebrated. As it was, the barest hint of a smile was all he allowed himself.

Before the process could complete, a vengeful Jayce burst in and started smashing the laboratory with an energized Transform Mercury Hammer.png hammer. Knowing an arrogant fool like Jayce would never listen to reason, Viktor ordered the automatons to kill Jayce. The battle was ferocious, and only ended when Jayce shattered the crystal Viktor had taken, bringing the entire warehouse down in an avalanche of steel and stone, thus ending the existence of those Viktor was trying to save. And for this, Jayce returned to Piltover, feted as a hero.

Viktor escaped the destruction of the laboratory, and returned to his mission of bettering humanity by ridding it of its destructive emotional impulses. In Viktor's mind, Jayce's impetuous attack only proved the truth of his cause and strengthened his desire to unburden humanity of the failings of flesh. Viktor did send chem-augmented thugs to raid Jayce's laboratory not long afterward. This was - Viktor told himself - not for revenge, but to learn if there were any more shards of the Shuriman crystal he could use for the advancement of mankind. The raid was unsuccessful, however, and Viktor thought no more of Jayce.

Instead, he intensified his efforts to find ways in which humanity could be shepherded beyond their emotional weaknesses and brought into a new, more reasoned stage of their evolution. Such research sometimes transgresses the boundaries of what would be considered ethical in Piltover (and Zaun) but they are all necessary steps in bringing about Viktor's Glorious Evolution.

House on Emberflit Alley

Viktor's third arm emitted a thin ray of light that welded metal into his left arm with steady precision. The smell of burning flesh no longer bothered him, nor did the sight of his left wrist splayed open, veins and sinewy muscle fused with mechanical augments. He did not wince. Instead, he felt a sense of achievement gazing at the seamless blend of synthetic and organic materials.

The sound of children shouting gave Viktor pause. Rarely did anyone venture down the fog-bound confines of Emberflit Alley. He had chosen this location for that very reason - he preferred not to be interrupted.

Keeping his left arm immobile, Viktor adjusted a silver dial on his iridoscope. The device contained a series of mirrored lenses that angled light to allow him full view of the street outside his laboratory.

Several children were violently shoving a malnourished boy toward Viktor's wrought iron gates.

"I doubt Naph will last a minute in there", said a girl with imitation gemstones embedded above her eyes.

"I bet he comes back with a brass head", said a boy with a shock of red hair. "Maybe then his brain won't be dull as the Gray."

"You better return with something we can sell, or we'll be the ones to give you a new head", said the largest one, grabbing the small boy by the neck and forcing him forward. The other children backed away, watching.

The young boy trembled as he approached the towering gate, which screeched as he pushed it open. He passed the front door encrusted with interlocking gears and shimmied through an open window. An alarm blared as he fell to the floor.

Viktor sighed and pressed a switch that quieted the ringing.

The skinny boy stared at his new environment. Glass jars, containing organic and metal organs floating in green fluid, lined the walls. A leather gurney stained with blood, upon which lay a mechanized drill, sat in the center of the chamber. Dozens of automatons stood motionless against every wall. To Viktor, his laboratory was a sanctuary for his most creative and vital experiments, but he could imagine it might seem frightening to a child.

The boy's eyes widened in shock when he saw Viktor at his workbench, arm splayed open on the table. He ducked behind a nearby crate.

"You will not learn anything from that box, child", said Viktor. "But on top of it, you will find a bone chisel. Hand it to me, please."

A trembling hand reached to the top of the crate and grasped the handle of the rusted metal tool. The chisel slid across the floor to Viktor, who picked it up.

"Thank you", said Viktor, who wiped off the instrument and continued work on his arm.

Viktor heard the boy's rapid breathing.

"I am replacing the twisting flexor tendons - ahem, the broken mechanism in my wrist", Viktor said, reaching into his arm to adjust a bolt. "Would you like to watch?"

The boy peeked his head around the crate.

"Doesn't it hurt?" said the boy.

"No", said Viktor. "When one eliminates the anticipation and fear of pain, it becomes entirely bearable."

"Oh."

"It also helps that my arm is almost completely mechanized. See for yourself."

The boy stepped away from the crate and sat across from Viktor without a word, eyes fixed on his arm.

Viktor resumed welding a new boltdrive onto the tendons beneath his skin. When he had finished, he sealed the flaps of dermis onto his arm. He drew the beam of light across the seam, cauterizing his flesh and fusing the incision.

"Why did you do that?" the boy asked. "Didn't your arm work fine as it was?"

"Do you know what humanity's greatest weakness is?"

"No... " said the boy.

"Humans consistently ignore the endless infinity of possibilities in favor of maintaining the status quo."

The boy gave him a blank stare.

"People fear change", Viktor said. "They settle with fine when they could have exceptional."

Viktor walked to his stovetop. He mixed a blend of dark powder and Dunpor cream into a saucepan, heating the liquid with his laser.

"Would you like a glass of sweetmilk?" said Viktor. "A weakness of mine, but I have always enjoyed the anise flavor."

"Um... you're not going to saw off my head and replace it with a metal one?"

"Ah. Is that what they think of me now?" Viktor asked.

"Pretty much", said the boy. "I heard one kid had theirs replaced just because they had a cough."

"Did you get this information directly?" said Viktor.

"No, it was my neighbor Bherma's cousin. Or uncle. Or something like that."

"Ah. Well in that case."

"Would replacing someone's head even get rid of a cough?" asked the boy.

"Now you are asking the right questions", said Viktor. "No, I imagine it would not be much of an upgrade. Coughing stems from the lungs, you see. And to your earlier point, I am not going to saw your head off and replace it with a metal one. Unless, of course, you want that."

"No thanks", said the boy.

Viktor poured the thick liquid into two mugs and passed one to the boy, who stared longingly at the hot drink.

"It is not drugged", said Viktor and took a sip from his own mug. The boy gulped down the sweetmilk.

"Are the others still watching outside?" said the boy through stained teeth.

Viktor glanced through his iridoscope. The three children were still waiting by the front entrance.

"Indeed they are. Do you wish to give them a scare?" Viktor said.

The boy's eyes lit up, and he nodded.

Viktor handed him a sonophone and said "Scream as loud as you can into this."

The boy gave an exaggerated, blood-curdling shriek into the sonophone. It echoed along Emberflit Alley, and the other children jumped in terror, quickly scattering to hide. The boy looked at Viktor and grinned.

"I find that fear is more often than not a limiting emotion", said Viktor. "Tell me something that scares you, for example."

"The Chem-Barons."

"The Chem-Barons are feared because they project an air of dominance and often the threat of violence. If no one feared them, people would stand up to them. And then where would their power go?"

"Uh... "

"Away. Exactly. Think of how many Chem-Barons exist compared to how many people live in Zaun. Fear is used by the powerful few to control the weak because they understand how fear works. If someone can manipulate your emotions, they can control you."

"I guess that makes sense. But I'm still afraid of them", said the boy.

"Of course you are. Patterns of fear are carved deep into your very flesh. Steel, however, has no such weakness."

Viktor retrieved a vial containing miniscule silver beads floating in milky fluid.

"That is where I may be able to assist", he said. "I have developed an augmentation that eliminates fear altogether. I could let you try it out for a short time."

"How short?"

"The implant will dissolve in twenty minutes."

"You're sure it's not permanent?"

"It can be, but not this one. You might find that without fear, your friends out there lose their grip. Bullies feed on fear, you see. And without it, they will starve."

The boy nursed his drink, considering the offer. After a moment he nodded to Viktor, who inserted a thin needle into the vial and injected one of the silver beads into the skin behind his ear.

The boy shuddered for a moment. Then he smiled.

"Do you feel your weakness falling away?" Viktor asked.

"Oh yes", said the boy.

Viktor walked him to the door and twisted a dial to unlock it before waving him out.

"Remember, you can always return if you wish a more permanent solution."

A wave of fog created a ghostly silhouette around the boy as he emerged from the laboratory. Viktor returned to his workbench to watch the experiment through his iridoscope.

Emberflit Alley was empty, but as soon as the boy walked out his companions emerged.

"Where's our souvenir? asked the red-haired boy.

"Doesn't seem like little Naph has held up his end of the deal", said the girl.

"Guess we have to punish him", added the large boy. "We did promise him a new head today, after all."

"Don't you touch me", said Naph. He raised himself to his tallest height.

The bully reached for Naph's neck, but Naph turned and punched him square in the face.

Blood streamed from the bully's nose.

"Grab him!" the bully screamed.

But his companions were no longer interested in grabbing him.

Naph stepped toward the bullies. They stepped back.

"Get away from me", he said.

The bullies eyed each other, then turned and ran.

Viktor closed his iridoscope and returned to his work. He stretched the fingers of his newly repaired arm and tapped them on his desk in satisfaction.

References

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