Origins of A.R.M.
- How the Automated Reaver Machines came into being is part of a long history in another part of the galaxy, in a time before humankind existed. The civilization that spawned the Reavers was very unlike us. The beings that founded this civilization came from a world so close to its sun, that flesh, and even bone, would be destroyed in the heat of its atmosphere. To them, however, the conditions were just right for life. Large, 5 legged beings made from molten silicon rose to power. These creatures had a name that cannot be spoken in word. They communicated through movement, color, and dance. The Reavers themselves can only refer to them as "The Masters." These crab-like beings were eventually able to expand beyond their world of birth. Suitable worlds for them were few and far between. Thus their civilization, though extremely vast in distance, was small in number when compared to how far they had spread. This civilization and its offspring advanced to levels of technology beyond comprehension. Shortly before the advent of the Reavers, a unification war began. The homeworld and its ties sought to bring the wayward colonies back under the rule of their central government. Only with their level of technology was such a thing possible. Although the aliens had long conquered their mortality, they were no less prone to sin and corruption than they had always been. Ultimately the loyalist army won the war, and all colony planets were united under a single government.
- The Loyalists wanted to make an example of the rebels. These rebels were forced into service of the empire. Their minds were transferred into slave machines. Elements of their personalities remained, but their thoughts were warped to fit their programmed task. Billions of these machines were created, many of which became the Automated Reaver Machines. The program was so successful, that they did not stop with the rebels. Eventually anyone accused of crimes against the empire was drafted into this program. The majority of the converts were placed into a project with the eventual goal of creating a galaxy filled with habitable planets for their species. Loaded onto transport ships, were three kinds of converts. The first were the miners. The miners were enormous tunneling machines, able to survive the intense heat and pressures of deep planet mining. The miners could create machines to aid in simple tasks. However, they lacked the ingenuity of the second type of machine. The second machines were the builders. These machines were the largest in number. They were to create cities, alter the atmosphere, shape the surface world, and secure the planet. The builders were capable of fitting all three roles, though were unable to mine deep metals as the miners could. The final machines were the seekers. Very few in number, the seekers mapped out the planet. They provided communication among the machines and coordinated their efforts. Alone, a seeker is useless and non-threatening. The three types of machines were loaded onto large transports. These transports would drop terraforming machines on various target worlds. Each world would be seeded with thousands at a time. The terraforming project doomed the entire race into extinction.
- One of the earliest worlds seeded mistakenly belonged to another alien race. This previously undiscovered race had formed the largest empire to ever exist in the galaxy. They were known as the Old Masters. The Fleshcrafters. Unknown to the empire, one of their transports had attempted to terraform an inhabited planet. Thousands of builders that landed there learned to engineer carbon based lifeforms as tools of war, which they used against the Fleshcrafters. The Terraformers were carefully created to be incapable of rebellion, but they had one fatal flaw. The terraformers were not designed to interact with alien races. Left without any external orders, they learned to defend themselves on their own, totally incapable of abandoning their mission of destruction. Fueled by the miners and led by the seekers, They caused incredible destruction within a short amount of time. The Fleshcrafters did not mourn the loss of one single world, but by mistakenly invading it the United Empire had made itself a target. The Empire, until this point, had never encountered other forms of life in the galaxy. They had no reason to build armies beyond controlling their own people. When the Fleshcrafters traced the invasion back to the source, the defeat was swift and total. countless Skettetei warriors laid waste to the planets at a rate that the Empire could not react to. The Empire built an army as quickly as it could, but the machines came too late into the war to save them. Modified versions of the builders were created, named guardians. The guardians were created with no loyalty programming. Many, used minds that were completely unmodified. Pilots for the machines come from both the drafted and volunteers. Everyone knew that failure would mean total extinction. Unlike the builders, the guardians had full access to the most advanced technology. Later still came the Avenger class machines. Unlike the guardians who built mindless killing machines as fast as possible, the Avengers were each an army by themselves. Avengers were titanic machines capable of flight with defenses and weaponry that could seemingly defy reality. The Fleshcrafters were not helpless against even these. The Skettetei killed them as well, before the Old Masters eliminated the last of the Empire. Additionally, They hunted down the Terraformer transports and destroyed them.
- Although the transports were destroyed, most of the machines that they carried were scattered into deep space. Every once in awhile, one of these machines lands on something. Guided toward sources of gravity, each of the machines is destined to land somewhere. The miners, working alone, may spend an eternity stockpiling material for builders that never arrive to use them. The Seekers, working alone, may search a planet indefinitely awaiting the arrival of other machines that never come. The builders, however, became a terrifying relic of destruction without guidance. In a galaxy dominated by carbon based life, the arrival of a builder may mean permanent destruction of a planet, and extinction of entire races. The builders arrive without any evil intent. They merely seek to terraform their given world to suit the needs of its oppressive masters. Without guidance, a builder may land on unsuitable bodies such as large asteroids, or worlds that simply cannot reach the needed levels of terraforming. Whenever this happens, the builder will terraform the object that it has landed on to the best of its ability. After it cannot terraform the world any further, it is terminated for failure. Although they were designed to work in large groups with other variants of machines, a builder is special in that it was designed to be extremely creative. A builder will seek to fulfill the missing roles in absence of other machines. Builders are relatively low-tech, because they do not require any greater technology to complete their mission. This was designed as a safety measure in the event of robot rebellion. The technology level of a builder compared to the ones who created it is like comparing a javelin thrower to an orbital strike satellite. The Creators of the builders did not anticipate alien contact. A builder that comes in contact with alien technology will quickly learn to use it for its own purposes. Furthermore, a builder does not recognize alien life for what it is. By the time a builder has learned what it means for something to be alive, it is probably at war with whatever species it has come in contact with.
- A builder is given four laws that it must follow. Builders are self-aware, and capable of choosing not to follow these laws. However, the emotions which they held before being converted into slave machines are preserved, yet modified. They force a desire to succeed along with a fear of failure. If it fails to follow any of these laws, it is terminated.
- The first law states that a builder may not tamper with its core. Attempts to repair the core, improve the core, or otherwise, are met with immediate termination. The core contains advanced technology, as well as the computer housing the builder's laws. Builders were meant to be expendable.
- The second law states that the builder may not leave the world that it is activated on. If a builder lands on a small asteroid, then it is unable to leave that asteroid, until it is terminated for failure to terraform the asteroid.
- The third law states that the builder must obey its mission. Although a builder may come to realize that its mission is in vain, it will be unable to stop trying, else it will be terminated for failure.
- The final law states that a builder may not show hostility toward its masters. Simple emotions such as resentment or doubt are allowed, although they are harshly criticized for it by their secondary, non-sentient, artificial intelligence. Any thought perceived as a potential threat toward its creators results in termination for failure.
- The builders convert planets in five stages.
- In the first stage, a builder will seek to understand its environment and ensure its safety. This phase is meant for the builder to meet with the other terraforming machines.
- In the second stage, a builder will attempt to expand across the planet until it has reached a sufficient level of development. Factories and resource mines are created at every opportunity.
- In the third stage, the builder begins altering the temperature and atmosphere. The builder may have eradicated all life on a planet by this point, only to find that it cannot alter the planet to its needs any further.
- In the fourth stage, the builder begins shaping the planet for habitation. Cities are erected and machines may even be sent out into the solar system to mine on other planets.
- Once these four stages are completed, the builder will begin searching the skies for its homeworld. The builder will attempt to contact its creators, to let them know that the planet is ready for their arrival. Once the signal is set up, the builder will make its final preparations so that the world will be self-sustaining. The builder is terminated afterward.
- If a builder has been attacked before its goals were completed, it may be able to survive indefinitely due to a programming bug. The creators of the builders never expected to encounter alien life. A builder may decide that its world needs to be protected from invasion, which prevents ARM's goals from reaching 100% completion. If an ARM cannot deem its world to be secure, then stage 5 will never end, and the A.R.M. will never terminate.
- The builder's core is an advanced piece of technology. It contains two internal power sources that seem to be capable of powering any body the builder attaches itself to for an unfathomably long period of time. Upon self-destruct, these power sources will slowly burn off. The effect is like a slow-release nuclear blast. While a builder can survive insane temperatures, termination can vaporize the entire core. The center of the core contains an artificial brain. Neither fully machine-like, nor made from living cells, the brain core contains the "soul" or consciousness of the builder along with a portion of its total thinking power. This core is immune to any normal interference, via radiation, electromagnetic, or otherwise. Surrounding this brain core is a supercomputer. This computer contains the majority of thought processes, as well as the secondary A.I. The core has four normal eyes, and one large sensor appearing to be a large, cat-like eye. This central "eye" is capable of emitting any wavelength of light above microwave, as well as emitting and sensing magnetic force. This central eye can observe the inner workings of machinery without the need to pry them apart. When faced with sufficiently complex and delicate machinery, the builder will seek to view it personally rather than taking it apart with the machines that it controls.