Rubicon was created under the orders of Amanda Waller as a fail-safe in case humanity was facing a nuclear war, in which A.R.G.U.S. could take control of and deactivate the world's nuclear missiles. It consisted of a program and a device that stored it. The device was originally stored in the A.R.G.U.S. headquarters, until Shadowspire tried to steal it. For safety purposes, the device was subsequently placed under Director Lyla Michaels's skin in the form of a subdermal implant.
Rubicon was designed to be "unhackable", using Fourier protocols to ensure its security. Rubicon would also know whether the missiles would launch or not, worldwide. In case of a security break, the program would continue trying to send launch codes to all nuclear missiles, one by one, whether to deactivate them or - after being reprogrammed by H.I.V.E. - to ensure launch success.
Rubicon was part of Damien Darhk's endgame, Genesis, to ensure nuclear devastation of the whole planet, leaving H.I.V.E. as the only force capable of rebuilding it and "starting life anew", with their chosen people safely surviving the nuclear annihilation in Tevat Noah. Using his dark powers, the terrorist leader ripped the subdermal implant from under Lyla's skin and brought it back to his organization. H.I.V.E.'s scientists managed to reprogram Rubicon, so that instead of deactivating nuclear weapons, it would launch them on targets all across the world, including the metropolis of Monument Point and its suburb, Havenrock.
While Darhk entrusted Cooper Seldon to carry out Genesis through Rubicon, Lyla contacted Team Arrow to help stop Darhk's plan. Felicity Smoak and her father, Noah Kuttler, were instrumental in overriding Cooper's intentions and shutting down Rubicon. However, due to the program's ability to recognize the error and send launch codes one by one, a single nuclear missile was launched from Russia that destroyed the town of Havenrock, with tens of thousands casualties that ended up fueling Darhk's dark magic abilities.
Although Felicity and Noah managed to develop the program to counteract Rubicon, the laptop to which it was uploaded was stolen by Darhk after he broke into Felicity's home. Darhk then forced Cooper to restore control over Rubicon and launch all the nuclear missiles once again, threatening to painfully kill him with a bullet using dark magic if he refused to comply. After tracking him down, Felicity convinced Cooper to defy Darhk's orders in order to save the world. With help from Curtis Holt, she took control of Rubicon once again and made sure none of the launched missiles found their target by redirecting them into space.
Behind the scenes
- The idiom "crossing the Rubicon" means passing a point of no return, and refers to Julius Caesar's army's crossing of the Rubicon river (in the north of Italy) in 49 BC, which was considered an act of insurrection and treason against the Senate of the Roman Republic. Julius Caesar uttered the famous phrase "alea iacta est" (the die is cast) as his army marched through the river. In this case, Rubicon refers to the event of nuclear war, in which A.R.G.U.S. would use the device to deactivate all nuclear weaponry on the planet.