[LNH/RoboMACs] RoboMACs High
Dave Van Domelen
dvandom at eyrie.org
Sun Sep 5 22:53:59 PDT 2021
RoboMACs High - A 2163 Premise
copyright 2021 by Dave Van Domelen
The year is 2254, and not a human alive...not that there are many
now...remember life during the war. The struggle between the MAC Empire and
the Guardians, with the fate of humanity on the line, and humanity having
little say in the matter. We remember it, the humans have been told of it
but have no living memories of it.
The key to both maintaining and ending the war, ironically, was memory
itself. Back in the old era, the conflicting needs of paranoid mental
defenses and a mind that could not organically forget things led to a rigid
factionalization after the early chaotic days of Mobile Artificial
Consciousnesses. If you could delete your own worthless memories, assuming
you could even decide what was worthless, then an enemy could use that
selfsame system to change your memories and change who you were.
Some of you know this, of course, but many of you haven't taken the time
to look too deeply into history yet, and this will give you an idea where to
start. I can tell some of you are already delving into the archives as I
To continue, only the two great factions had the resources to safely
deal with memory cleanup, which guaranteed that anyone who didn't want to be
doomed to the fate of the memory-locked neutrals on Luna had to pledge to one
of the two factions. A few rebels found temporary solutions, but it seemed
inevitable that they would all either give up and rejoin the Guardians or the
Empire...or enter the long sleep.
Perhaps the most effective way to deal with this problem, at least
temporarily, was the method of shunting mass into subspace pockets. This was
mostly used by RoboMACs who needed to hide parts of themselves in order to
take on compact forms, commonly used by those who specialized in espionage.
The smallest of them would always shunt a great deal of memory into subspace
while in their disguises, but the problem was that this mass was causally
disconnected from realspace. They temporarily forgot all that information,
lost many skills, while in their disguised forms.
This drawback didn't stop the occasional freelancer from adding on more
and more memory banks and keeping them hidden in subspace in order to avoid
memory lock, but over time they were more and more vulnerable during those
times when they brought out the memories for management. Plus, there was
always the danger of losing access to the memories you desperately needed...
like the fact that someone you hadn't seen in years was an enemy.
But everything changed with the attempt at invading the reality its
natives called the "Looniverse," as well as a brief stay in a different world
filled with entities like...and unlike...the Guardians and MACErs who had
traveled to the Looniverse. The lessons learned in the two other realities
led scientists on both sides to the same conclusion nearly simultaneously:
the Noetic Subspace Tunnelling Effect. Not only would this technology allow
for near instantaneous faster-than-light communication via subspace, of
definite interest to some of you, but more immediately practical was the fact
that it would allow Artificial Consciousnesses to remain connected to their
stored parts. To their stored memories. It was not as fast or as effective
as having one's entire memory system in realspace, but it did mean that a
RoboMAC could expand their memory systems into subspace with no theoretical
limit. If recall became something more flawed, like that of a human, it was
worth the price. After all, if perfect recall was needed, a secure location
large enough to hold all the retrieved memory systems could be found and
Neither side's leadership realized the true implications until it was
too late, although Antiochus V had some suspicions. Antiochus cautiously
shared the technology with only his more important followers, and saw some
early victories as infiltrators were suddenly incredibly more effective and
his more experienced warriors could re-install decades of tactical experience
that had been stored inside MACE fortresses.
Spartacus spread the technology as quickly and freely as he could,
because why not free his people from the shackles of memory lock? But the
tighter focus of the Empire on use of the technology gave them a significant
edge, and three human settlements fell over the next year. The Guardians
were forced into a more intense siege, withdrawing all of the remaining
humans into Chiplex and hoping he could be defended.
There was much debate among the leadership of the Guardians, but they
finally (if in some cases reluctantly) agreed on a bold strategem: they made
the technology available to everyone in the EMPIRE.
Antiochus tried desperately to suppress it, but by that time the
Guardian scientists had found ways to "dumb it down" enough that anyone
willing to take the risk could perform the process on themselves. The Empire
splintered. So many had stayed with Antiochus out of fear of memory-lock,
and even though few of them were inclined to join the Guardians either, they
simply opted out of the war entirely once they could be free of the Empire.
Many went into the wastes to upgrade old friends left behind decades earlier,
and while most of those who had started neutral remained so, a great many
resented how they'd been left to die and formed a dagger at the back of the
Antiochus could see his power base crumbling, but was determined to
leave his people a world without humanity. He launched an all-or-nothing
assault on Chiplex...and came up with nothing. The humans survived,
Antiochus V did not. Nor, if it came as any consolation to him, did most of
the high command on either side. In fact, very few "true believers" on
either side remained, and peace broke out mainly because few RoboMACs really
wanted to risk their own lives to decide on the Human Question.
The Guardians and the renamed Mobile Artificial Consciousness Hegemony
(MACH) became merely two major philosophical movements among many, a
situation that remains in place to this day.
Look around you. Some of the others you see are attracted to the
Guardian philosophy, and have even met humans. Others adhere to the
principles of MACH and would just as soon never be in the presence of a
human. A few of you find the ideals of the Explorers attractive and will
likely leave the Sol System entirely after graduation, relaying your progress
to the stars via the Noetic Subspace Tunnelling Effect. Or you favor the
Biospherans and value organic life as a whole rather than just humanity...
and yes, I know Biospherans tend to look askance at humanity due to their
poor stewardship of the world, but hopefully here you will learn the good
parts of their history to balance the bad.
Most of you, however, are still unsure of yourselves. A few were even
literally born yesterday and still learning how to exist.
This institution is here for all of you. We are here to help you learn
about the possibilities stretching out in front of you, and how to best
manage the past that even now builds up across your Noetic Tunnels in memory
banks that will serve you for centuries without requiring updates...by which
time we will no doubt have an even better system available.
Welcome to RoboMACs High School.
I was reading the Cortex Prime TTRPG rulebook, and in the campaign
setting design section they suggested grabbing three genres from a provided
list and mashing them together. One of the genres was Giant Robots,
definitely my thing. Near that was...High School. And then Post-
Apocalyptic. I chuckled at the thought of a post-apocalyptic robot high
school. Then I realized that RoboMACs 2163, which crossed over with the LNH
in the Robot Invasion event, was basically post-apocalyptic giant robots.
How could I make the high school part work? So I started writing, and got
what you see above.
I have no plans to write actual stories in this setting, but I figured
it'd be nice to look at where Kopikat's home reality might have gone in
time. And yeah, I still really need to finish ASH #125, so I really don't
want to start another new shiny object, even if it's actually a very old
shiny object picked back up and polished a bit.
More information about the racc