Approximately 28 minutes after the Useful MOUSE Association left in their ship, bound for parts unknown, a fight broke out among the guests at the party celebrating the success of MOUSE. It seems as if several dignitaries, from various planets scattered across the galaxy, had debated the UMAs parting promise, specifically the part about 'the perfect universe'. Most of the parties involved accepted that they were all part of the perfect universe, but several - mainly those from the 'Obnoxia' star system and the planet 'Pom-pass' - assumed that they were the exclusive in their participation in the 'perfect universe', and that anyone elses claims of being part of this 'universe' were false. They claimed that, since only their territories were part of 'the perfect universe', any attempts to be in the 'perfect universe' would obviously involve invading their space, and would be an act of war.
By this time, several leaders had approached their respective holonews crews, and announced that their planets were considered as being in part of a 'perfect universe'.
The ruler of Obnoxia 4 landed a punch on the "Minister for MOUSE-related affairs" from Terracotta 7, and it wasn't long until what was possibly the most stupid war in the history of the universe started.
The last galactic war - which was fought over 150 years earlier, and was based on someones idea that the "Celestial Demons" turbo-speeder gang were invincible. Someone tried to test that theory with a large laser pulse rifle, and the retribution was swift, hard, and indiscriminate. It took 17 years to end, with the destruction of 4 star systems throughout the duration.
It also caused the Intergalactic Tribunal Against Immense Pain to outlaw the use of 'Planetary Decimation' class weapons. A gesture which, while nice and humane and all, probably extended the so-called "Perfect War" (so named because it was about the 'perfect universe' comment) from a 36 hour nuke-fest of the problem planets to a 12 year campaign. The war eventually claiming over 3 billion lives, and destroying the economies of 40 planets directly - though obliteration of infrastructure - and over 300 planets indirectly - through loss of import/export locations, knock-on effects of economical melt-down, and the fact that some centers were sucked dry of money, troops, and equipment before being abandoned.
Seeing that comments from the Useful MOUSE Association were the root cause of the war, the "Useful Mechanoids" company, which produced MOUSE, was caught up in the middle of the entire affair.
Various planets approached Useful Mechanoids, in the hopes of finding the Useful MOUSE Association to clear up the whole mess by explicitly stating which planets were in the 'Perfect Universe'. Later, when it became clear that they could not (or would not) be found, they approached UM in hopes of finding the 'Ultimate Weapon'.
The technicians were revolted at the idea that they should take a device, such as MOUSE, which was designed to help people (they repeated pointed out that the first 3 versions of MOUSE were *supposed* to be helpful, the whole killing thing was a mistake), and re-design it to hurt them. They especially hated the idea that only a single faction was going to have access to their product (should it ever be made), giving them an unfair advantage. Useful Mechanoids decided to take a neutral stance in the proceedings, and continued to produce version 4 of MOUSE, in the vain hope that it's usefulness and peacefulness would be a stabilising factor in the conflict.
It wasn't long before army technicians were able to reverse engineer enough of the MOUSE AI to alter it's intent. These altered MOUSE units were fitted with explosives, and sent deep into enemy territory (who'd suspect a peaceful MOUSE unit?), with instructions to detonate their payload near the most valuable asset. The standard MOUSE interface would have sat there, asking how to define a valuable asset, and would have made sure that no-one was near its detonation. The army-altered MOUSE AI, however, was pre-programmed with techniques to identify and assess the value of various military assets, and had it's safety protocols disabled in order to allow it more 'effective' functioning.
The technicians, appalled by this power-shift based on altered MOUSE units, immediately set about a way to level the playing field, seeing as they couldn't improve it.
Version 5 of MOUSE was released approximately 4 months after the first 'MOUSE bombs' were reported.
This version of MOUSE was a hastily altered model of the Version 4 MOUSE, with a stripped down AI, voice recognition, and security systems. What was improved was the visual recognition, battery life, and weaponry of MOUSE. Sporting a smart-looking laser mounted on the top of the unit, explosives inside, and painted in camouflage colours, MOUSE version 5 was offered to all armies, on all sides of the conflict, for reasonable prices.
These were 'Turn on and forget' weapons, as they began searching for opposing forces immediately after initialisation, and shot as many things as it could before exploding when it either found a valuable structure, or could not move (due to damage, terrain, or battery life).
This move by Useful Mechanoids became one of the major turning points in the war. Since everyone was able to get the same weapons for a low price, no-one had the technological advantage in the field of small robotics, and all combatants recognised, feared, and shot at any MOUSE unit they saw. The advantage gained by using MOUSE was lost, and the opposing factions were pushed into the position where they required MOUSE in order to match the enemy, they required soldiers to defend against the same units, and they required money to keep the supply of both constant and happy.
Popular among tactics at this time was to intercept and destroy enemy MOUSE transport convoys, while at the same time defending their own convoys.
No-one dared attempt an attack on the MOUSE factories, as not only would the factories have the largest reserve of MOUSE units to deploy against any enemy, but any attacking force would be attacking their own weapon supply.
Ironically, the widespread deployment and purchasing of MOUSE units pushed the war further away from technological weaponry. MOUSE convoys were being destroyed left and right, by real pilots in actual fighters. Actual soldiers were decimating the brainless MOUSE waves approaching them, before storming a real hill to meet the people in the opposing force who was doing the same thing. MOUSE attacks were next to useless, yet no-one would dare stop purchasing them in the fear that the enemy might get the upper hand if they did. And all the while war funds were being dwindled on all sides, and only Useful Mechanoids were benefitting.
The pockets of warmongers are deep, they sustained the war for 7 years after the introduction of MOUSE version 5, but eventually, both sides ran out of money. The fact that both sides ran out of money at the same time, and that, on the advice of their creditors (mainly 'Useful Mechanoids'), they both surrendered to each other at the same meeting, was considered astoundingly improbable by all sections of the community. However, no-one saw fit to question the timing, as neither side had the resources to continue fighting (heck, they couldn't afford to get a bus ticket to the opposing capital to claim victory even if they won), and no-one wanted to risk what little resources they had left to fight over a comment made more than a decade before.
Of course, it was later noted by historians that the conditions leading up to the draw may have been sculpted by Useful Mechanoids through the cunning use of price-fixing techniques to drain more money out of the more wealthy regions, as well as the rumoured use of their own military-grade force to destroy the MOUSE convoys. None of these findings ever made it into the public eye because, as the saying goes, 'History is written by the victors'. Considering that Useful Mechanoids was now not only the wealthiest organisation in the galaxy, but also the sole owner of both galactic armadas (claimed in lieu of payment), you might hazard a guess on who won that war.
'Useful Mechanoids' was the richest, most powerful force in the galaxy, and they could take over the universe in a matter of days, if they were so inclined.
That couldn't last for long, not if the lawyers had anything to say about it.
MOUSE Version 5 Statistics:
Height: Approx 1.5 units
Weight: 250 pounds (125 Kilograms) when packed with explosives.
Power: Self contained battery, with approx 80 minute maximum charge, unit is completely expendable.
Movement: 6-wheeled design, powered by electric motors, all wheel drive for tough battle-field conditions.
- Complete AI overhaul, MOUSE won't kill YOU, but the enemy, hoo-boy are they going down!
- Visual upgrades. Making sure MOUSE sees the whites of their eyes
- Wireless design. MOUSE can roam free with its improved visuals and unique locator tag, reporting back to base with an external antenna to confirm its kills.
- Extended battery life. Let's MOUSE penetrate the enemy territory with greater efficiency.
- Top-mounted laser. Just the thing to kill people.
- Self-detonation. When faced with a precious military target, or when it's out of power or otherwise unable to move, MOUSE will detonate the explosives it carries, leaving a nice crater.
- Camouflage colours. Keeping MOUSE hidden from those who want to prevent your galactic rule.