320,031 Kilometers Away, Outer Space
From the within the interior of a gargantuan, spherical construct forged from the Venezuelan vibranium stolen from King Xenon's natural resources reserves, Merlin came to terms with his present course of action. Luminescent, vermilion photoreceptors gazed upon the holographic features of a projected, three-dimensional model of the Earth. Mankind had always been a volatile, dangerous animal. It was however, in 1945, in the 6th and 9th of August that mankind had become the virus. A nightmare that was simply too real to awaken from. Light flared across the sky, and people ducked and sought cover as they had been taught to during such a crisis.
They cowered under whatever they could, shutting their eyelids and praying that all would be well, that the flames that would soon scar the Earth with a scorching mark would pass them by and do them no harm. Children hid beneath desks and chairs at school, pedestrians under cars and inside buildings, and working men and women behind desks at the office. Those who found no cover, simply ran. But the searing agony experienced no pity from their screams. Thousands and thousands more lost their lives within the first few minutes. And hundreds of thousands more perished over the days that came as radioactive fallout settled over both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Dust and smoke enveloped the sky, and the leftover radiation sunk deep into the soil, poisoning it. Whoever survived by virtue of fortune did not survive unscathed. Radiation sickness took them. The Japanese were on the verge of collapse, as close to defeat as a military force could be. And while instrumental to the end of World War Two, Little Boy and Fat Man, the names attributed to the most infamous of atomic bombs, were unnecessary, Merlin believed. Mankind now had the power to destroy himself. This was the first symptom of the virus. Bloody chapters in the human being's history however, continued to open when the Western world did battle with Islamic extremists who sought to erect a kingdom that harbored no free-thinking man, an empire forcing all of mankind to unite, through violence, under one religious identity.
Mankind's unwillingness to accept their own differences and live in peace, his willingness to attack himself over differences not only in religious identity, but in sexuality, ideology, skin color, and recently whether or not one is a product of genetic mutation, it was symptom number two. Symptom number three was simple. Changes in the planet's atmosphere due to the emission of greenhouse gases, oil spills, the extinction of other creatures, Merlin viewed it no differently than he viewed the previous two symptoms. It was symptomatic of a civilization growing increasingly out of control. The saying goes that three strikes and one is out. Three symptoms and the virus must be cleaned out of the circuitry. Mankind was the virus, and the world was Merlin's circuitry.
Ra's Lanuf, Libya
Adopting a more logical approach than the misguided television tropes that insist on attacking the United States during a planetary assault, Merlin opted against enraging the population of the world's most powerful country and uniting them against him. Many a pseudo-intellectual believe that attacking the world's most developed portions to eliminate the greatest threat first and pick apart the weaklings in the aftermath is plausible. The Quantum Wizard however, argues that one would not seek to defeat a marksman by punching his sniper's speeding bullet. The goal would always be to disarm the enemy first. And to disarm the world's military, one targets the resources.
As potent as mankind's military forces are, they follow an unnecessarily complex and vulnerable system that can be disrupted. Jet fighters need fuel. Missiles. Computers. The means to repair all of those things requires fuel. And fuel requires imported petroleum. A majority of which is acquired from Africa. Merlin's incipient target was not the United States, it was not the Statue of Liberty. It was the world's largest oil refineries. Exploiting the advantage that only a few need to be targeted to severely damage the globe's supply of petroleum, Merlin sought to leave all planes grounded due to a lack of fuel. Replacement parts and military personnel would then either be occupied controlling riots in the streets due to the collapse of the economy, or fighting off any number of violent wars over the remaining drops of oil left in the supply lines.
Only then would the Malware Monarch deliver his next series of crippling blows by using unique quantum supercomputer's powerful algorithms such as Shor's algorithm to break the encryption algorithm that protects communication and electronic banking on the internet, and subsequently launching a direct attack on the western world. Now however, as he pilots the elephantine, Goliath-Assault Mech stolen from Santiago Porthos' Avalon reserves, Merlin directed his path towards Libya's Ra's Lanuf Refinery, the presence of a giant, metallic juggernaut garnering attention from a variety of speculating news helicopters and inevitably functioning as a channel for those intent on investigating the situation.