"This insanity has gone on for long enough! Hightower, show yourself this instant, or I shall strip your Chancellor of her flesh before your eyes!"
~ an enraged OTAN operates the Mastermind in the 2151 Hammerfall Games.
The Mastermind is the most powerful avatar of the Supreme Leader of the Mechanocracy of Russia and the Mechanocracy of Mankind, controlled by the Leader when he or she appears in person to do battle. It possesses extremely-powerful, almost godlike psionic abilities that nearly put it on par with the massive mainframe of the OTAN and Trotskaya Complexes on, respectively, Earth and Jotunheim.
There are three Mastermind-type avatars in existence, the first of which belongs to OTAN. The second, known as the Tempest, belongs to Elena Trotskaya. The third (and most mysterious) belongs to Joseph Hightower and is known as the Deterrent. All Masterminds are almost exactly equal in terms of their power, though Hightower's and Trotskaya's have yet to truly be tested to the same degree as OTAN's.
OTAN's Mastermind is an androgynous humanoid in appearance: it bears wild, platinum-coloured hair, a bright magenta facemask and a dark indigo jumpsuit, with a Resh-Vav-Yod emblem imprinted onto its frontal breastplate. In addition, the psi-energy from OTAN's Mastermind is purple in colouration. However, as a result of the massive power compressed into a human-sized mainframe, it is highly unstable and must regularly 'vent' its brainwaves, or else it will detonate with enough force to destroy a continent. This psionic radiation is so potent that it inspires dread within the weak-minded across a wide area (at least 300x300 metres) and will drive anyone within touching distance irreversibly insane.
In the Trotskaya Regime, particularly the post-World War IV era, OTAN began to worry about how powerful his daughter was becoming, thanks to her search for and later procurement of the Necronomicon. Therefore, he upgrades his Mastermind several times to accommodate for the titanic strength of the Tempest. Notably, he resolves the issue of psionic radiation to make it more stable - it can still radiate, but it is no longer a necessity to prevent a destructive overload.
The Tempest is the Mastermind-esque avatar that was created for Elena Trotskaya in preparation for her Apotheosis, empowered by the woman herself using the Consummation Engine. Unlike the Mastermind, the Tempest is an unadulterated engine of war, her five powerful psionic exhibitors designed from the ground up towards unleashing its mighty eldritch forces for untold destruction. Trotskaya's avatar is also much more stable than the Mastermind, being far more advanced than the 100-year old avatar of her father's.
The exhibitors are kept under control using a system of psychic locks, able only to be activated by either a Cybermancer or Trotskaya - the latter can unlock the exhibitors all the way up to the penultimate. The last, most powerful exhibitor must be unlocked by Timofei Prime or another powerful Cybermancer. The purpose of keeping the final exhibitor under lock and key is a failsafe suggested by Trotskaya herself to prevent her from using the Tempest's constellation-crushing might in blind rage.
The Tempest possesses several psionic manifestations, depending on which (and how many) psionic exhibitors are active. Each activated exhibitor represents not just a different shape, but a different combat style as well.
- The first form, when no psionic exhibitors are active, is an unassuming humanoid shape, matching Trotskaya's physical appearance almost perfectly. The difference can be seen in the eyes: a genuine Trotskaya body will possess a dual-optic augment replacing her left eye, which she lost in a fight with Prokhor Stahlrim (and is the only permanent wound that she maintains on her body).
- The second form, seen when the first exhibitor is active, is a ghostlike figure - akin to an Empyreal - that floats over the battlefield like a shadow. This represents a stealthy combat style, Trotskaya adopting this form when she wishes to remain hidden.
- The third form, when the second exhibitor is active, is a giant cobra, a form that favours agility and speed over brute force. It is also adopted for when Trotskaya demands a rapid, surgical strike: twin adamantite-plated fangs can quite easily bite through a solid block of tungsten carbide.
- The fourth form - activated when the third exhibitor comes online - is a huge dragon, this being tailored for front-line warfare. Some of her greater powers are activated here, including the ability to launch devastating energy attacks and erect barriers to protect against attack.
- The fifth form, when all exhibitors but the last are online, is a colossal, hydra-like creature hovering some eighty metres above the ground on a cloud of dense, impenetrable black smoke. Six massive, serpentine heads erupt from Trotskaya's underside, while two more explode from her back – the ninth head is her own at the centre, twisted into a terrifying demonic visage.
- Her ultimate form, activated when the final exhibitor comes online, is unknown.
Notably, the Tempest leaves a huge psychic 'footprint' wherever it goes, a nearby psyker of any capability being able to sense the presence of what seems like millions of people stored inside of her whenever she is nearby and uncontained.
Instead of the Resh-Vav-Yod, the Tempest possesses Trotskaya's triad symbol branded onto its breastplate. Instead of purple, the Tempest's psi-energy is red in colouration.
While Hightower does indeed possess a Mastermind-like form, he generally finds excessive use of the psionic power "atrocious", and (often unfairly) criticizes OTAN for such, theorizing that the power is addictive and "begging for unwanted notice". As such, his 'avatars' are typically just his digital mind inhabiting hologram projectors or unremarkable android bodies, and his true psionic-embedded avatars are mostly a mystery, including 'The Deterrent' (which he prefers over 'Mastermind'), which is his most powerful. It is unique in the fact that it doesn't take a humanoid shape: like the Tempest's various manifestations, it instead seems to be a focused concentration of visible psionic energy, capable of taking any physical form.
Hightower seems to prefer the form of a dog-like canine predator while in this state. Why is a mystery, though it is rumored this form is often taken in the honor of a feral dog that saved his life from a mugger during his college days. Hightower's psi-energy is blue.
- The Mastermind gets its name from a unit in Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge - although C&C's Mastermind is a type of tank, rather unlike the various Masterminds of the Frencoverse.
- The psionic locks of the Tempest are an idea directly borrowed from the Control Art Restriction System, a mechanism used in the anime/manga Hellsing to keep the immensely-powerful vampire Alucard under the control of the titular Hellsing Organisation.