The Origin of Rai
Early in the 31st century, the entire land mass of the island nation of Japan was blanketed by hundreds of levels of high-tech urban sprawl. In order to support such a spectacular megalopolis, with its population of over 50 billion, a tremendously powerful central computer was designed to control every aspect of the island's function. In 3050, that computer went "freewill", which meant that it took on an independent, artificial intelligence. The populace dubbed it "Grandmother" because of its clearly benevolent desire to care for and protect the people of Japan. To insure her own safety, Grandmother created a security force of one. Forged in the image of the legendary 20th century hero, Bloodshot, her Spirit Guardian would be called "Rai".
The first Rai was infused with some unknown form of energy which gave him great strength, and the ability to form Energy Weapons. He was also able to travel through the nerveweb of Japan, the computer network which gave Grandmother control of the city, thus allowing him to move anywhere inside Japan at virtually the speed of thought. The line of Rai would be passed from father to son through the generations.
The Secret Fate of the Second Rai
In the year 3216, seeking to thwart Grandmother's champion, the Anti-Grannies had somehow managed to obtain the Blood of Heroes - the very plasma that coursed through Bloodshot's veins nearly twelve hundred years before. Once a suitable host could be found, the blood's power could be used to give them control over any electronic intelligence - including Grandmother's. Sho Sugino, the second Rai, was summoned to defend Japan, protect Grandmother, and defeat the terrorists. Of course, Sugino succeeded (Rai #0)...but at a cost which was destined to become legendary.
Grandmother was determined that no one would ever be allowed to use the Blood of Heroes against her. She told Sugino to hide the blood in a place no one could possibly reach - and in the process of executing this final command, the second Rai simply vanished from the face of the Earth. (Be sure to check out Secrets of the Valiant Universe #2, coming this October, for the incredible truth behind this mystery!).
The Fallen Warriors
For hundreds of years thereafter, the Spirit Guardians continued to stand in Japan's defense. Some of them even gave their lives to preserve the peace and order for which the megalopolis became world renowned. In 4001 A.D., however, the Earth was invaded by vicious Spider Aliens, and Grandmother was forced to launch Japan into space in order to defeat them. With the combined might of Earth's forces, the armada was repelled, but Grandmother was so badly damaged that she finally left Japan to govern itself. The Rai of that time, Tohru Nakadai, remained behind to champion his nation, until his death at the hands of Mothergod during the Unity conflict.
Mothergod proved disastrous to Japan. As a result of her machinations, the orbiting island fell from space shortly before Tohru's death, killing billions of its inhabitants. But in its darkest hour, Takao Konishi, a Harbinger with the potential to receive the Blood of Heroes, was chosen to inherit the mantle and continue the lineage of Rai (again, Rai #0).
Two Heirs to the Blood of Heroes
Konishi would not last long as Rai. Only one year later, the Malev Empire attacked the solar system in the great invasion of 4002. After leading a ragtag band of rebels against the aliens, Konishi gave his life in one final, triumphant bid to destroy the Emperor himself (Rai and the Future Force #22).
Seventeen years after the end of that war, not one, but two young men have risen, both prepared to take on the mantle of Rai (Rai #23). Obadiah Konishi, son of Takao, has been raised in Ladakh and is now prepared to embark upon a quest to become the hero that his father was (Rai #25). But Takashi Nakadai, son of the last "true" Rai (under Grandmother's regime) also covets this noble title. "Brothers" in spirit, these two young men are destined to become mortal foes in a battle that someday soon will rock the world of the 41st century.