“Danton, I can’t make any sense of this....those are the tracks of at least fifty CS skelebots moving in formation and heavily laden...but look at these tracks here and here; that’s maybe five-six Shemarrians...They were laid down at the same time, but they looking like they were ESCORTING the skelebots! This doesn’t make sense! The CS programs their terminator-bots to attack anything not human, and often anything not wearing the Coalition label! A CS manned patrol I might see not attacking Shemarrians they came across...the DeadBoys aren’t all stupid....but a force of skelebots would attack like a swarm of wasps! I don’t understand! Did the Shemarrians just steal a bunch of skelebots, or is the CS now working with the Shemarrian Nation?”
Not all NeShemar are created equal; because of the circumstances of their origins, some of the Ecotroz-Awakened have a longer path to travel to full sentience and participation in EShemar society. “Myrmidons” is the outsider term (sometimes also ‘E-bots’ or ‘E-Myrms’) assigned to those more simplistic Robotic A.I.s that have been captured and Awakened by the Ecotroz Intelligence, and adopted into EShemar society. These would include such machines as Triax Dynabots, Kittani labor drones, Northern Gun labor robots, Coalition Skelebots (and their NEMA infantry drone ancestors), ARCHIE-3’s soldier and drone robots, and the occasional alien robot (such as Mechanoid drones and any of the robots from Heroes/Aliens Unlimited). Thus, the Myrmidons comprise a rather motley and varied crew among the camp followers of the EShemar.
Because of the ‘impression’ factor in Ecotroz Awakening, an Ecotroz-converted machine often assumes the identity associated with its new robotic host body, at least initially. This means that a piece of dedicated combat robotics is not likely to immediately begin philosophizing about its role in existence, or embark of creating great cultural works, but may become simply a better, more intelligent, killer with its gift of sentience. Later on, after moving through growing self-actualization, the E-Bot might begin to question its orders, or find a rationale for its following those orders, and later on, might take time off from its orders to pursue its own interests (and, unfortunately, in the case of combat robots this might be as a mercenary or serial killer). This would well be the case with many robots on Rifts Earth if they were simply directly infected with the Ecotroz. However, those robots Awakened by the ‘secondary’ implantation spread by the EShemar will not only be influenced by the subtle impressions anchored in their physical forms, but by the minds of the EShemar. The newly Awakened ‘bots will be initially inclined to obey the directives of their EShemar seniors, or at least will be less inclined to attack or disobey them.
Because of their typically narrow-focused programming, these robots tend to be mentally pigeonholed, and find it difficult to branch out and diversify (though with enough time and experience, the Ecotroz fragment inside them will grow in capabilities and interests). In EShemar society, these E-bots occupy a social standing akin to the mentally challenged, but still functional, in pre-Rifts human society, with a few differences. Though technically NeShemar, Myrmidons rank below NeShemar such as other neural intelligences, cyborgs (both EShemar-made and adopted), adoptees, and the NeR’Mar, and are considered to be somewhat above EShemar animals like Warsteeds and Mounts. Myrmidons tend to be rather simple minded, unquestioningly obeying their EShemar superiors, and going uncomplainingly about their assigned tasks. Myrmidons are typically employed in labor teams under the supervision of NeShemar, EShemar Males, and the Reclaimed, while individual Myrms may act as aides and servants to EShemar Tinkers, warriors, and leaders, but the more combat-oriented Myrmidons are also used as line soldiers in defensive actions, or as storm troopers deployed en masse in offensive operations. While the EShemar don’t see the Myrmidons as wholly expendable, on the other hand they don’t have any qualms about sacrificing Myrmidons in battle. A few Tinkers and Psi-Shamanesses make it a point to attend to the ‘simpler minds’, but most EShemar generally regard the E-bots as simple-minded (i.e. ‘stupid’) distant relations with little social contact outside work.
Myrmidons are rarely included in the Rites of Upgrade; typically any improvements or upgrades come about on a case-by-case basis if an individual Spinster/Tinker/Healer has to affect repairs on a Myrmidon, and has the extra parts available. Groups of Myrmidons may be upgraded to better equip them for special tasks and projects, such as underwater work, or anti-vampire action. Myrmidons have NEVER taken part in any Progen ceremony, and the EShemar rarely, if ever, dedicate any of their manufacturing capability to the creation of new Myrmidons (components for NeShemar/EShemar, and new Warmounts typically take priority); it’s simply easier to salvage or otherwise acquire and convert new Myrmidons than to construct them.
The Hawkmoon tribe was the first to use extensive numbers of Myrmidons, as they were first of the Awakened EShemar. Later on, the Darkwaters, Silvermoon, and Wolf’s Path would make extensive use of Myrmidons (mostly Northern Gun and turned Kittani drones), especially in their campaigns against the Splugorth. The Ghost Riders would make the most extensive use of Myrmidons in their ranks, particularly reconstructed pre-Rifts domestic robots (lending more credence to theories that they had uncovered pre-Rifts robotics plants around New York), although technically the Myrmidons they deployed could not be considered to be true E-Bots. Ironically, the largest user of Myrmidon shock-troops would be the Skullcrushers, during the three-way civil-war-within-a-civil-war that entangled that tribe late in the Shemarrian Civil War. The small numbers of EShemar convertees among the Skullcrushers would turn large numbers of A-49, A-63, A-64, AA-10, and even AA-50 drones against even greater numbers of the Corrupted and the legions of the Dark One in some of the more spectacular (and confusing) battles of the Shemarrian Civil War.
Despite their subclass status, it IS possible for a Myrmidon to rise above its station and become a ‘true’ NeShemar, and claim the rights and privileges there of. These rare individuals are regarded as the exception to the rule, however, and are either effectively idiot savants or exemplary performers recognized for their talents. Individual Myrmidons may also be ‘patroned’ by EShemar into Rites of Upgrade, and their passage into the higher, and more responsible, classes of EShemar society facilitated. The majority of Myrmidons, however, rarely seek advancement, and remain little more than narrow-focused drones, content with their (low) station in existence, and with the lack of need to worry about any greater responsibilities (especially true of the combat robots).
Three Galaxies and Uses
The existence of the Myrmidon class is less obvious among the more advanced Three Galaxies EShemarrians, given that nothing is known about the conditions of the EShemarrians’ homeworlds, if any, although it’s a safe bet that armies of salvaged ‘bots probably toil away as a lower class in such places. It’s also possible that the Shemarrian Star Nation produces Myrmidons from salvaged robotics factories on a case-by-case basis if the Myrmidons graduate to a higher level of awareness and ask for continuance in some form. Many ex-Myrmidons, in fact, start up small businesses and become members of what might correspond to a lower middle class in the Star Nation. In fact, unbeknownst to other peoples in the Three Galaxies, an increasing number of robots and ‘cyborgs’ appearing as laborers and freelancers around the Three Galaxies are in fact ex-Myrmidons and agents of the Shemarrian Star Nation, much as the A-51 Spybots served ARCHIE-3 on Rifts Earth! With their expertise and interest in computer programming and subterfuge, the Ghost Riders are particularly heavily involved in this sort of work, and they employ a large network of free-willed AIs to keep other Three Galaxies peoples under surveillance.