Forest (Origin: Spirits of the Past)
The Forest is a superorganism plant that features in Origin: Spirits of the Past.
The Forest began life as part of the Earth Afforestation Project that was conducted by mankind in the near future. It was headed by Doctor Sakul who served as the director of the program that was being initiated by Laban. The purpose of the experiment was to activate the organic gene factors within plants and create trees that were able to grow in harsh as well as arid environments. These trials entered their final stage of experimentation on the Moon and the success of the project would have meant the afforestation of parts of Earth with the mutants plants. Unknown to anyone, one of the personnel involved called Shunack was responsible for tampering with the seed samples as he intended to grow them at a greater pace. This led to the mutant plant specimens growing out of control where they embedded themselves within the Moon. In time, their roots ruptured the lunar surface and split the Moon in half due to their rampaging growth cycle. This chain of events led to plant matter raining down onto Earth's surface as a result and thus leading to the seeds being embedded within the soil where they began to grow in their new environments. The plants then became aggressive where they attacked the Earth and its human inhabitants which led to mass panic as well as evacuvations. Those that had time to escape went into stasis whilst many others were killed in the result. Doctor Sakura became one of the only surviving members of the original project and created the environmental defragmentation system (E.S.T.O.C.) that would allow mankind to eliminate the newly formed Forest that had dominated the planetary surface. However, he never initiated the system and instead left the decision to any surviving humans that encountered it in the future. Among the only survivors of this time were Sakul's daughter Toola and Shunack both of whom were in stasis during this time.
Over centuries, the plant organism managed to control and change the environment of Earth in this time. Instead of dying out, many humans managed to survive though their civilization was completely altered as a result. Among the greatest change was the fact that the Forest ultimately control access to reserviors of water that became essential for the continued surival of mankind. Humanity became divided between those that served the Forest, those that sought co-existence with it and those that rejected the Forest who used military might against it. This saw the rise of the Zruids, the formation of Neutral City and finally the militant state of Ragna. It was in this environment that Shunack emerged from in stasis where he suffered from guilt over how his actions led to the mutated plants overruning the Earth. At first, he attempted to adapt to the new society and even became enhanced with the power of the Forest. However, he rejected the new order and instead defected to the nation of Ragna where he began searching for Doctor Sakul's environment regeneration system where he intended to wipe the surface to recreate it again. Despite many years of search, he failed in discovering E.S.T.O.C. but the opportunity presented itself when Neutral City citizen Agito discovered Toola in stasis. Her awakening, however, deeply disturbed the Forest which began making demands from Neutral City to hand the girl to the Zruids as she was a threat to them but the city heads rejected the demands.
In time, knowledge of Toola's presence would reach Ragna where Shunack decided to meet with the girl as she was the daughter of the Earth Afforestation Project and thus had the means of locating E.S.T.O.C. The Forest attempted to stop the attempt at taking Toola but the Forest Beast sent was defeat by Shunack. After failing to save Toola, Agito was told the dangers posed by Tula from his father who became one with the Forest. In the aftermath, Agito went into the Forest to become enhanced and thus had the power needed to attempt to save Toola. However, Toola rejected him as she want to bring an end to the Forest and restore the planet to her time. With Shunack, she travelled to the mountain that held E.S.T.O.C. where she activated the device only to discover to her shock that it was a weapon. However, Shunack was well aware of the devices true nature and intended to use it to wipe away his guilt in bringing about the emergence of the Forest.
In terms of nature, the Forest was actually plant organisms that were capable of growing into sapient trees with the capacity of growing with such speed to encompass the Earth. In fact, during its initial emergence on the Moon, its roots became so extensive and damaging that it ruptured the lunar surface. The extensive growth of the Forest was even able to split the Moon in half and was able to rain extensive damage to Earth's surface. On Earth, its growth ultimately brought about the end of modern human civilization with the destruction of many cities. Once dominating the surface, it managed to control the supply of water which became a precious commodity on the planet to the point that it served as a currency as well as essential to trading goods and supplies. It was able to allow others access to the water and even restrict it. This large plant organism was deeply tied to the planet Earth after it became rooted to the point that the only way to remove it was destroying it to such an extent that it left the surface both ruined and dead.
The Forest held its own intelligence and was even able to determine threats to its existence as seen with the danger it felt in Toola. This saw it threaten to withhold the supply of water until she was surrendered to it. It was because the Forest contained a great deal of knowledge about the past. Furthermore, it was also known to not tolerate intruders that entered into its large expanse and attacked them. One of the abilities of the Forest was to create vines that were able to move to become monstrous forms known as Forest Beasts that were able to attack enemies outside of the plant ridden expanse.
A greater ability of the Forest was to impart some of its powers to select humans. Those that accepted this gift were called Enhanced and a distinguishing factor in them was their white hair. They were given superhuman strength, speed and endurance allowing them to catch large tank shells or destroy Forest beasts as well as run to speeds able to match a train. Those that tapped into the power of the Forest risked being overwhelmed by their aggressive instincts that led to the power in them going out of control. This can lead to their limbs transforming into monstrous bark covered claws and only clear orderly thoughts was able to restore their bodies. However, those that tapped too much into their power risked being unable to transform back to their human forms. Furthermore, in time, the power of the Forest led to the Enhanced slowly becoming trees where their consciousness was linked to that of the Forest. But over time the mind of the Enhanced would be completely joined with the Forest and they would no longer be able to speak to their rooted physical bodies.
- Shunack : a male human that was part of the Earth Afforestation Project that tampered with the plant samples leading them to grow out of control. He went into stasis and woke up in the changed world where he became Enhanced by the Forest but turned against it by joining Ragna and seeking its destruction.
- Agito : son of one of Neutral City's founders who was Enhanced and was empowered with the Forest to stop the weapon that Toola's father had created.
- Origin: Spirits of the Past (2006)