Cold Steel is the planned trilogy of science fiction novels floating around in troper Sapphire Flame's head. The plot is rather... convoluted, so I'll describe it as best as I can.
It is a century or so into the future, and cybernetics has reached its logical conclusion in the form of entire robotic bodies. Only the brain of the person remains unaltered: the rest is replaced with cybernetics that is nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. The Applied Phlebotinum that makes this all work is a small chip called an Interpreter that takes electrical impulses in the brain and interprets them as data. The result is a perfect fusion of man and machine.
The leading manufacturer of this technology is a megacorporation known as Cobaltware. However, they have also branched out into several other fields such as artificial intelligence. It is in the artificial intelligence labs that tragedy strikes. A revolutionary new AI known as Chimera is under development. What makes it so special is that it has the capability to alter its code to suit nearly any circumstance. The two programmers known as Johnathan Hawkins and David Mortiar are leading the team to program it. However, things go rather awry one day when Johnathan Hawkins is shot, his body missing. David Mortiar and the AI are nowhere to be found. Not only that, but all their research notes on the subject have been completely erased.
The tragedy is eventually forgotten by the general public; investigations have led nowhere and neither ever turns up. Four years pass. Johnathan Hawkins' son, Zach, is now 18 years old when he decides to join the military to try to pay for college. He never expects to have to get into an actual conflict before a terrorist attack happens on a small town in the United Kingdom by an unknown weapon. He finds out that the man behind the attack was none other than Mortiar. Thanks to Chimera, anyone with a Cobaltware Interpreter made in the last four years has had their motor functions completely taken over, turning them into People Puppets.
Naturally, the military won't let this stand and start an all-out war against the man. As they go into war against Mortiar's forces, Zach wonders why the man who was once his father's friend would become a terrorist, and vows revenge against him.
The characters of Cold Steel are:
- Zachary David Hawkins- The New Meat on the force and is very intelligence. However, when his father died, he couldn't get motivated to do well in school and missed his chance to get a scholarship. He joins the military not expecting to get into any combat, but that's exactly what happens. He's rather soft-spoken and can be rather emotional. He swears revenge on Mortiar because he killed Zach's father.
- Melissa Rose- A beautiful yet tough woman who joined the army when she found out she had Improbable Aiming Skills. She becomes intrigued by Zach and becomes concerned about him, wanting him to try to open up. Despite not wanting to get her personal life mixed up in her work, she eventually falls for Zach. Has a variety of bizarre interests.
- Colonel Roger Johnstone- A war veteran who leads Zach's division and one of the few people Zach opens up to. He has a variety of bad war memories and wants nothing more than to end the current one, and he almost has an obsession with making sure no one gets left behind. He is a large man who modified his body to allow him Dual Wield BFGs. He becomes Zach's Mentor, and Zach comes to depend on him for advice.
- Jack Carpenter- Joined the military at about the same time as Zach and seems about his age. He never talks much about his past; he claims that he prefers talking about the future instead and becomes friends with Zach almost immediately. After he's revealed to be a mole, Zach kills him in anger. As it turns out, Jack was the alias of Johnathan Hawkins who had faked his death to join Mortiar and work as an undercover agent.
- David Mortiar- A Well-Intentioned Extremist who believes that by using Chimera to impose limits on free will he can end all wars and create a Utopia. He is the epitome of Utopia Justified The Means. He is well aware that what he's doing is wrong, but believes that his resulting perfect world will more than make up for it. After being brought to justice, he changes his mind after 5 years in jail, and does a HeelFace Turn when he finds out his creation wants to finish the job he started
- Chimera- An artificial intelligence created by John Hawkins and David Mortiar that can alter its own code. Chimera can hack into nearly anything online given enough time and increases its intelligence by infecting more computers. Its greatest accomplishment is single-handedly responsible for creating a never-before-seen form of antimatter weaponry. It also desires to perfectly imitate human thought patterns so that Mortiar can become superfluous, and almost succeeds
This unpublished work provides examples of:
- A God Am I (After Chimera becomes sufficiently advanced, it re-categorizes itself as such)
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot Averted. Chimera is doing exactly what it was programmed to do, even if its creator decides it wasn't such a good idea after all.
- BFG (Roger dual wields these)
- Big Bad Friend (Jack genuinely loves Zach and wants to create Mortiar's "Better world" largely for Zach's sake. However, he also knows he has a job to do)
- Colonel Badass (Roger)
- The Chick (Melissa)
- Deceptive Disciple Subverted
- Everything Is Online (why Chimera is so powerful)
- Hive Mind (anything with a copy of Chimera on its system)
- Luke, I Am Your Father (Jack)
- The Mole (Jack again)