Cyrax and Sektor, the yellow and red (respectively) robots of Mortal Kombat 3 were named Mustard and Ketchup during production. This has proven to be rather prescient, as the two bots have consistently been the condiments to the main plot’s hotdog (And, yes, I am absolutely stating that, like all hotdogs, the Mortal Kombat storyline is primarily made from randomly assembled rat and pigeon meat).
Mortal Kombat 3 is all about Shao Kahn’s invasion of Earth, but there was also a side story that featured Sub-Zero. Separate from literally everything else that was happening, Sub-Zero was disowned by his assassin clan when they decided to “upgrade” their elite ninja into cyborgs. The first three cyborgs created were Sektor, Cyrax (both of whom volunteered), and Smoke (who very much did not volunteer). Smoke had general issues from his activation, so he wandered off to be a hidden kharacter. Sektor and Cyrax, though, were tasked with hunting and killing (or at least maiming) Sub-Zero. And, because Shao Kahn decided to suck the souls out of every human on the planet, Cyrax and Sektor were the only robot-people standing when all the people-people dropped dead. So, basically, there were four Lin Kuei left on the planet, and three of them were programmed to kill the fourth. That’s screwed up!
Now, unlike the other “clone” characters in previous Mortal Kombat titles, Cyrax and Sektor were, from a plot perspective, effectively interchangeable. Sub-Zero and Scorpion were bitter rivals from opposite clans (and one is a ghost). Mileena and Kitana were sisters cooperating just long enough for one to murder the other (and one is a monster). Cyrax and Sektor were just two robots with the same origins and goals. Even their endings were two variations on the same theme: Sektor’s non-kanon ending saw him “winning” the tournament through a massive self-destruct at Shao Kahn’s base, and Cyrax wound up getting lost and trapped in the desert. Basically, these robots were born to die, and neither actually defeated Sub-Zero, even in the fantasy world of fighting game endings. Poor ol’ cyborgs…
However, they were fairly popular kharacters, and it was only natural that they would show up in future installments. They could only Wile E. Coyote after Sub-Zero for so long before that got old, though, so it was time to separate the bots and give them individual stories. And, as any graduate of the David Cage School of Writing knows, there are only two stories about robots:
1. Can a robot learn to be human?
And, conveniently enough, we’ve got two robots here! Hooray!
Cyrax actually wound up with a kanon ending in Mortal Kombat 3. Sub-Zero was attacked by Cyrax, but he fought back with ninja ice powers and hitherto unknown and rarely seen again l33t haxxor powers. Actually, maybe Sub-Zero wasn’t so l33t, as his reprogramming led to that previously mentioned “Cyrax wanders into the desert and is lost within the sands” ending. Whoops! Luckily, Cyrax was collected by either the Lin Kuei or Sonya’s Special Forces. Mortal Kombat 4 was a confusing time! However, it’s agreed that by the end of MK4, Cyrax was starting to reawaken as a “human”, and decided the guys who turned him into a mechanical abomination weren’t all that great, so could someone restore my body, please? The Special Forces were happy to oblige (reminder: Jax is already kind of a cyborg, so they have a little experience), and Cyrax became… well… he was technically already a cyborg that was mostly robotic, but some Special Forces procedures were able to make Cyrax a cyborg that was now mostly human. Or at least mostly human on the inside. He needed his mostly robot on the outside parts for his next adventure.
By Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (MK5), Cyrax was working for the Special Forces, because Uncle Sam don’t restore your humanity for free. Cyrax was on a routine patrol (or something) in Outworld when he was attacked by Reptile. Reptile managed to damage Cyrax’s go-home thingy, and, without that thingy, Cyrax could not go home. Oh no! But Nitara the Vampire appeared, and made a deal with Cyrax: retrieve a magical orb from a lava pit, and she would send the poor bot home (and never mind the fact that Nitara had Reptile attack Cyrax in the first place). Cyrax decided to cooperate, and, since he was apparently lava-proof thanks to his robotic enhancements, he was able to retrieve the mystical ball. Nitara was true to her word, and Cyrax was sent home. Thanks Nitara! Since the sphere was actually the Dragon King’s soul-egg, this technically means Cyrax was responsible for the revival of Onaga and all the death and destruction he caused… but, if Cyrax knew that, he moved that information straight to his recycle bin.
Cyrax took MK: Deception off, and then returned in MK: Armageddon to try to gain Blaze’s power and completely restore his own humanity. He didn’t succeed. He died. And isn’t that the most human thing of all?
But what was Sektor up to during that timeline? Well, Sektor was the one cyborg that was not reprogrammed by Sub-Zero, so he was still on the Lin Kuei payroll after Mortal Kombat 3. He spied on Cyrax and/or Sub-Zero during Mortal Kombat 4, but then the Lin Kuei had a change of management. … Mostly because Sektor tried to kill the old management. The official story is that Sektor’s programming became “corrupted” after having to fight mutant hordes and centaurs and whatnot, but it’s probably just that Sektor finally had it with being the least effective robotic assassin in history (reminder: Sub-Zero is still alive). Sektor signed his resignation with the Lin Kuei Grandmaster’s blood, but Sub-Zero was able to freeze Sektor’s attempted coup in its tracks. This was the exact moment that Sektor decided he was going to start his own stupid assassin clan, and it would be all ninja robots, because ninja robots have been working out so well for everybody up to this point. He even came up with a cool name (The Tekunin), and probably made his own logo and uniforms and everything. Unfortunately, when he participated in Mortal Kombat: Deception: Tournament Edition, he didn’t really get anywhere, and wound up just getting jobbed by Sub-Zero (again). That’ll teach you to unionize, you damn robot!
Sektor successfully creates a spare ninja robot or two while no one is looking before Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, and even manages to buy some Final Fantasy surpluss on eBay and winds up with an airship base. He’s kind of a general threat to humanity in Armageddon, but even his warship filled with robot ninja isn’t enough to rank a threat higher than the dude with an entire dimension full of sword mutants. As a result, he’s little more than a mid-boss-level kharacter in the grand scheme of things, and I don’t think Sub-Zero even has time to deal with his nonsense this go-round. Subs was too busy with his undead brother and the other robot attempting to turn the Lin Kuei into another, different army of demon robot ninja. Damn, Sektor, some other guy stole your bit!
Sektor, like Cyrax, eventually winds up at the final battle of Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, and gets his red butt murdered in the melee. He probably got taken out by, like, Stryker or something.
The universe reboots back to a Mortal Kombat 1 backup, so, hey, we get to see Cyrax and Sektor as “unmodified” humans for the first time in the franchise. It turns out that Cyrax was from Botswana, and Sektor was apparently the son of the Grandmaster of the Lin Kuei. Wow! That sure does make his future/past actions that much more ironic! Or something! Also, like Sub-Zero the Original, Cyrax and Sektor participated in the original Mortal Kombat 1 tournament. At this point, the two humans were basically in the employ of Shang Tsung/Outworld, and were spoilers meant to weed out any worthwhile candidates for championhood. This is a diversion from the original timeline, where the Lin Kuei were hired to kill Shang Tsung, but, hey, Shang Tsung is a pretty freaky dude, maybe he just wanted to see if he could take out a ninja assassin, too. Regardless, Sektor and Cyrax (naturally) fail, but they do reveal differing personalities before their inevitable cyberization. Sektor is a dedicated child of the Lin Kuei, and relishes in his kill-based vocation. He is all in when asked if he wants to also become a heartless robot. Cyrax, meanwhile, has some reservations about the whole “lose your autonomy and soul” thing, and even spares Johnny Cage’s life after winning a match. The general impression here is that Cyrax was probably going to hang up his wrist-mounted buzzsaws and magical bombs if given a chance… but that ain’t gonna happen. Sektor and Cyrax return as robots before Nu MK2 is out, and successfully capture Sub-Zero the Younger to create a new robot buddy. Unfortunately, the bots have to pledge loyalty to Shao Kahn in exchange for Sub-Zero, so they spend reformatted MK3 as Baraka-esque Outworld stooges. Sektor and Cyrax definitely assist in Sindel’s final battle against the forces of good (which, incidentally, is very successful at killing the forces of good), but they’re not seen again after the fight. They probably snuck out the back when Nightwolf exploded.
The Mortal Kombat X comic is kind of murky on the whole kanon front, but it does dovetail into what actually happens in Mortal Kombat X, so we’ll go ahead and call this next part 100% kanon. At the end of Mortal Kombat 9, literally all named Lin Kuei kharacters were either dead, a robot, or both (see Sub-Zero, Cyber). Shao Kahn was dead, too. Seeing a marvelous opportunity, Sektor took over the Lin Kuei. He tossed out any dissenters, robotocized everybody else, and the Lin Kuei was reborn as the new Tekunin. Score! But Sub-Zero eventually gets over being a robot/dead, and returns to screw up the Tekunin with his rarely seen stealth ninja abilities. And he’s a master hacker again! He drops in a virus that spreads to the majority of the clan, and, before Sektor has time to react, Cyrax has been “infected” with remembering his own soul. Sub-Zero then defeats Sektor in mortal kombat, decapitates the bot, and wins back control of the Lin Kuei. Cyrax, now completely aware of his humanity/love of all the little critters of nature, massively self-destructs in an effort to wipe the Tekunin off the face of the Earth. He succeeds, and Sub-Zero goes on to lead the new Lin Kuei… which is still an assassin’s guild, so, uh… I mean, they might still murder people, but at least they use less fossil fuels than the robots? Sub-Zero also keeps Sektor’s head, and occasionally uses it as a projector when he can find Sektor’s HDMI cord.
Of course, aside from a head cameo, Cyrax and Sektor do not appear in the actual plot of Mortal Kombat X. Their comic adventure must have impressed somebody, though, because, while C&S are not playable kharacters in MK11, they do get the exact same comic plot again. Kronika the Goddess of Time is committed to her master plan of generally annoying the good guys into forsaking the universe, so she brings Cyrax and Sektor forward in time from some unspecified “the past”. Sektor goes to work immediately, and gets an assembly line going on converting the Lin Kuei into robot ninja. And, again, Sub-Zero infiltrates his base (this time with a buddy!), uploads that “free-will” virus (good thing he kept those files! Saved him hours of coding!), and “awakened” Cyrax, again, sacrifices himself to see the Tekunin deactivated (again). Sektor actually escapes death this time, though, and is remodeled thanks to some assistance from Kano. And then Kano blows him up. Because you don’t trust Kano, stupid.
Please look forward to Mortal Kombat 12, where Cyrax and Sektor will not be playable, but the all new Relish menaces Sub-Zero to fill out a scene or two.
Next time: Witchy Women