"I've brought death and suffering in such magnitude," Zor thought. "It's only right that I spent the balance of my life bringing life." - Zor (Novel #1 - Genesis)

And with those words the Robotech saga, a la Jack McKinney begins...and it begins with the catalyst of all that is going to happen.

Newton's third law of physics on a Universal scale.

The alien scientist Zor...the opener of Pandora's Box....the biter of the forbidden fruit...the Dr. Frankenstein of Protoculture.

Gee..THANKS Zor!
The original character of Zor long dead before the events in Robotech take place, but bits and pieces of his backstory are talked about throughout the novels. Below are some excerpts of how things develop before Earth becomes the center point of things...and at least gives a little more insight on that first statement he makes. 


On a world called Tirol, rulers of the planet, are feeling the subservient grip of the economically superior worlds of their local system and are looking for alternative energy to put them at equal footing. The search begins and destiny is put into motion;

"Tirol's challenge in the era of Zor's birth and young adulthood—Aeon Lanak—was to discover some means of peacefully imposing its egalitarian dream on its brethren worlds in the local star systems. Consumed with implementing the dream on its own turf, Tirol's leadership had allowed the planet to grow dangerously dependent on those same worlds for energy and goods of all variety. Unless it could expand its reach and influence, Tirol ran the risk of finding itself absorbed into an empire forged by Karbarra, Haydon IV, or some other local world. 

Tiresia's Grand Chair, comprising a triad of benevolent despots known as the Elders—could they have felt other than fated to profit from the tripartite Flower of Life?—had authorized a search for a new form of usable energy, one that would free Tirol from the economic tyranny of the Near Group worlds."
(Novel #20 - Masters Gambit)

Zor, one of Tirol's scientists, travels the nearby system and finds a curious flower, the Flower of Life on a planet called Optera. These are worshiped by its peaceful indigenous life forms, the Invid. (The Flowers themselves have a unique origin...Long story.)

"And the planet that would become the coconspirator in that fateful unfolding of events was known to the techno-voyagers of Tirol as Optera. For it was there that Zor would witness the evolutionary rites of the planet's indigenous life form, the Invid; there that the visionary scientist would seduce the Invid Regis to learn the secrets of the strange tripetaled flower that they ingested for physical as well as spiritual nourishment; there that the galactic feud between Optera and Tirol would have its roots." (Novel #6 - Doomsday)

Zor "seduces the secret of the Flower of Life's power from the "queen" of the Invid, the Regis.

"The infinitely metamorphic Invid were the Apple of Temptation to him, harboring ultimate secrets. Zor was the same to them-especially to the Invid Queen, revealing to them the two-edged bane/blessing they had never conceived of: passion, love.  He understood that the key to the power of Protoculture was the Invid Queen. Zor, consumed with the hunger for knowledge, used her, barely knowing what it was he was doing, and set, the course of a tragedy that would stretch across eternity."(Novel #9 - Final Nightmare)

Zor learns how to harness an incredible energy source from the Flowers and contain it in a device called the Matrix (NO not that one!) He names the energy Protoculture and the technological achievements from it as Robotechnology.

"There that Protoculture and Robotechnology were born.  Through experimentation, Zor discovered that a curious form of organic energy could be derived from the flower when its gestating seed was contained in a matrix that prevented maturation. The bio-energy resulting from this organic fusion was powerful enough to induce a semblance of bio-will, or animation, in essentially inorganic systems. Machines could be made to alter their very shape and structure in response to the prompting of an artificial intelligence or a human operator-to transform and reconfigure themselves." (Novel #6 - Doomsday)

Zor's overlords (the now Robotech Masters) see Protoculture as a means to conquer the worlds around them (which they eventually do) and place a "Compulsion" over Zor with orders to defoliate Optera of the Flowers with the help of the bio-genetically engineered giants and now police force, the Zentraedi.

"Zor's superiors on Tirol, his home-world, immediately understood the more obvious implications of Protoculture-its power to penetrate space-time, to impart vast mental powers, its connection to the fundamental shaping force of the Universe. Like all leaders, they lusted for power; naive Zor was no match for them...at least at that point.  Using rudimentary powers derived from the more malign aspects of Protoculture, the overlords of Tirol banded together to subdue Zor mentally, to place an irresistible Compulsion on him. At their direction, Zor stole as many of the Flower seeds as he could from his Optera hosts, and as much Protoculture.  Under his Masters' enslavement, he betrayed the Invid hive-queen, who had taken on a form like his own. Zor left the Regis loveless and full of hate-she who had literally transfigured herself, loving Zor so. The rest of Optera Zor laid waste, so that the Flower of Life would never grow there again."

"Conquest and dominance were the companion cravings of the Tirolean tyrants' Protoculture addiction. Their giant, cloned Zentraedi worker-menials were transformed into conquering legions; Zor became their savant-slave...The overlords of Tirol were transmogrified into the Robotech Masters. Their own race became to them mere objects, plasma to be reshaped and put to the use they chose." (Novel #9 - Final Nightmare)

Invid are pissed and now use Zor's creation to exact revenge. The Robotech Master's hold on their neighboring planets begins to crumble. Obviously, the Invid want Zor...preferably in pieces,

Meanwhile, the Invid, changed by their hatred and suffering, burst forth from Optera to seek the Flower of Life wherever the Masters seeded it, and to slay the Robotech Masters and their servants wherever they found them. The Invid began reproducing with monocellular speed, becoming a teeming horde that daunted even the Masters.(Novel #9 - Final Nightmare)

Zor begins breaking the Compulsion he is under and begins a process of atoning. He begins a plan of "repopulating" the Flower of Life in the now weakening empire of the Masters. He convinces the Masters to allow him a ship of his own design, a superdimensional fortress which is carrying the only remaining Protoculture Matrix;

The Masters, however, in their arrogance, had forgotten Zor's original exposure to the secrets of Protoculture on Optera, and the expansion of his mental gifts. Little by little, Zor was making patient, microscopic progress against the Compulsion by which the Masters held him. (Novel #9 - Final Nightmare)

Zor, however, had commenced a subtle rebellion; though forced to do the bidding of his misguided Masters, he had been careful to keep the secrets of the Protoculture process to himself. He acted the part of the servile deferential pawn the Masters perceived him to be, all the while manipulating them into allowing him to fashion a starship of his own design-for further galactic exploration, to be sure-a sleek transformable craft, a super dimensional fortress that would embody the science of Robotechnology much as the Zentraedi's organic battlewagons embodied the lusts of war. 

Unbeknown to the Masters, concealed among the reflex furnaces that powered its hyperspace drives, the fortress would also contain the very essence of Robotechnology-a veritable Protoculture factory, the only one of its kind in the known universe, capable of seducing from the Invid Flower of Life a harnessable bioenergy. (Novel #6 - Doomsday)

Nevertheless, Zor ventured forth in the hopes of redressing some of the injustices his own discoveries had fostered. Under the watchful gaze of Dolza, commander in chief of the Zentraedi, the dimensional fortress embarked on a mission to discover new worlds ripe for conquest.  So the Masters were led to believe.  What Zor actually had in mind was the seeding of planets with the Invid flower. (Novel #6 - Doomsday)

At some point, Zor begins to ingest the Flowers of Life himself...bringing upon him the Vision that becomes the base of the Robotech Novels Saga, where the great wrong he committed would be righted;

His breakthrough came in the form of a Vision of what was to be, given to him by the Protoculture. He saw a small, blue-white, unimportant world. A world where Humanity would ultimately obliterate itself, and all life on the planet, in a Global Civil War. There was an alternative. It would involve great hardship and suffering for the Human race, but at least it offered a chance for racial survival. 

The Vision showed Zor a possible future, wherein a great cyclone of mindforce a hundred miles wide rose from Earth and, high above the planet, transformed itself into a Phoenix of groupmind. The Phoenix spread wings wider than Earth, and with a single cry so magnificent and sad that it wrenched Zor's mind free of the Masters' domination, the bird soared away to another plane of existence. (Novel #9 - Final Nightmare)

The Invid would eventually exact their revenge Zor but not before he dispatched his fortress to that  small, blue-white, unimportant world.

"Well aware of the danger the Invid presented, Zor programmed the continuum coordinates of this planet into the astrogational computers of the dimensional fortress. He likewise programmed some of the ship's Robotech devices to play a part in leading the new trustees of his discovery to a special warning message his own likeness would deliver to them. Further, he enlisted the aid of several Zentraedi (whose heartless conditioning he managed to override by exposing them to music) to carry out the mission.  

The Invid caught up with Zor. 

But not before the dimensional fortress had been successfully launched and sent on its way.  

To Earth.

Subsequent events-notably the Zentraedi pursuit of the fortress-were as much a part of Earth's history as they were of Tirol's, but there were chapters yet to unfold, transformations and reconfigurations, repercussions impossible to predict, events that would have surprised Zor himself...had he lived." (Novel #6 - Doomsday)

Zor's dying words... while only heard by one party...were meant for all those part of the Robotech Story;

"Zor, if you die, the mission is over and I must return in defeat and humiliation," Dolza said.  

"I have thwarted the Robotech Masters' plan to control the universe." Zor had to pause to cough and regain his breath, with a rattle in it that spoke of dying. "But a greater, finer mission is only beginning, Dolza..."  

Zor coughed again and was still, eyes closed forever." (
Novel #1 - Genesis)

All this BEFORE the Traditional Robotech Story begins...

Zor...mad genius or tragic character?...That's the mission for the readers to decide.

Something I should mention...in my conversations with Jim Luceno, there was a plan for a stand alone Novel about Zor but was never written...regardless, there's enough to get the gist of it. Additionally, in the Novel End of the Circle, it goes into a lot more detail of how Zor comes to his Vision.

Then there are the Zor CLONES.

But that's another story for another day...


Images: Genesis: The Legend of Zor
              Robotech: The Graphic Novel
              Symphony of Light (Robotech Novel #12)
              Earth Stock Image


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