Mantrid

From Academic Kids

Mantrid is the maniacal computer/human/insect being who dominated the second series of Lexx.

When he was alive, he was the mightiest of His Divine Shadow's Bio-Viziers (though remaining in rivalry with his teacher, Brizon), until His Shadow exiled him to a barren snow-covered world. His physical appearance was that of a head situated on top of a large hovering jar (for lack of a better word) that contained all of his organs. For limbs he had several robot arms, each mounted on a basketball-sized antigravity drive that could fly around independantly. These were based on standard League industrial drones. Mantrid was also accompanied in exile by a deeply submissive human slave, his only living companion.

Plot details

After the destruction of the Gigashadow, Kai (secretly possessed by His Divine Shadow's essence at the time) revealed that he was nearly out of protoblood. Since a living Insect is the only known source of protoblood, they recovered a dormant infant Insect from the Gigashadow's remains and brought it to Mantrid for him to revive and extract a fresh supply from. Mantrid agreed, but had his own designs on the infant Insect. Insects possessed the ability to transfer their minds into other life forms as a means of immortality and Mantrid wanted to extract the organ responsible for his own use to transfer his mind from his own ruined body into a computer on board a small spacecraft he had specially prepared for this purpose.

Once the Insect began to revive under Mantrid's ministrations, however, His Divine Shadow caused Kai to kill Mantrid by smashing his organ-jar and then abandoned Kai's body to move into the Insect. Mantrid's head remained alive, though rapidly dying, and in desperation Mantrid's slave ordered the drones to immediately remove the infant Insect's essence-transfer organ so that he could perform the procedure on Mantrid himself. The slave was ultimately successful, but since the organ had been removed after His Divine Shadow had already moved into the Insect's body it was "contaminated" with some of his Insect mentality. The result was to leave Mantrid as a mixture of human, machine, and Insect essences. He inherited from his new Insect side their deep hatred of humanity, and his first act on waking up in the machine was to have his remaining drone arms kill the slave that had saved him.

Lexx destroyed the planet shortly thereafter to ensure that the Insect would not escape, but Mantrid survived and departed from the rubble of his planet in his bizarre little ship along with his remaining drone arms. The drones had the ability to manufacture more of themselves entirely from local raw material, so soon his ship was accompanied by a substantial number of these drones. He sent some of his drones to follow the Lexx over the course of many episodes to toy with them, destroying any place they visited shortly after they departed and using the raw materials to manufacture exponentially increasing numbers of drones. Soon with countless billions of drones at his disposal, Mantrid begins tearing apart planets and eventually even stars for raw material. By the end of season two Mantrid's drones composed 64% of the mass of the entire Light Zone and were poised to rapidly finish consuming the rest of it. This was an example of an extreme grey goo catastrophe, though the technology involved (antigravity and some form of highly efficient elemental transmutation process) was not particularly plausible in terms of real physics.

The crew of the Lexx tried several gambits to defeat Mantrid once they became aware of his activities (revealed by "patches in the sky", regions where his drones had consumed all of the stars). They located Brizon, his old teacher, who attempted to "hack" the distributed control network of the Mantrid drones to shut them down. Mantrid tricked Brizon into thinking he had succeeded, then when Brizon attempted to transfer his own mind into Mantrid's machine to take his place Mantrid killed him. The crew of the Lexx subsequently attempted to construct their own more efficient version of a Mantrid drone with the intent of setting it loose to feed exclusively on the "bad" drones, but by that point the numerical superiority of Mantrid's drones meant that no matter how efficient the new drones were they would still be completely overwhelmed and destroyed in battle. Finally they attempted to locate and destroy Mantrid himself, using a telepathic predator who could locate Mantrid's mind with relative ease now that most other life in the universe was gone. This too failed when the Lexx found that Mantrid's strange little ship was hidden somewhere in a swarm of millions of identical decoys, preventing it from destroying it before Mantrid was able to summon drones to defend him.

This last gambit turned out to be Mantrid's ultimate downfall, however. Kai contacted Mantrid during the battle and taunted him to the point where Mantrid summoned all of his drones to deal with the Lexx, sending most of the universe's mass streaming inward from all directions towards that single point in space. An unstoppable Big Crunch is set in motion as a result, the drones' gravity drawing the remaining unconsumed matter of the universe in along with them. The Lexx manages to escape moments before the end of the universe through a natural portal to the Dark Zone that always existed at the center of mass of each universe, which thanks to Mantrid's overkill was moved to their location.

Mantrid and a few of his drones also managed to slip through the portal as the Light Zone ended, his own ship destroyed so that only a small computer core carried by a single drone arm was left of him. Rather than immediately begin rebuilding his swarms, though, he first slipped aboard the Lexx and attempted to kill the crew. Kai destroyed the remaining drones, leaving Mantrid's computer brain lying helplessly on the floor screaming "I destroyed a universe!" until Xev crushed it under her heel.

Mantrid makes a short appearance in the third season as well, resurrected on the desolate planet Fire to suffer punishment for his choices.

See also

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