“Hoi, Sister Steelbender! How was your trip to Germany? We heard the general report of the expedition, but we want to hear your tale! What was it like?”
“Hah! Ruins and fighting, wilderness and fighting, gargoyles and brodkil, more fighting, more ruins, more gargoyles and brodkil, but at least there was plenty of technology, what I could lay hands on without more fighting! Robots and vehicles; that much was NOT exaggerated!”
“That’s a Tinker for you! As long as there’s tech to be had, the rest is sideshow! We heard you adopted over there, Sister, some new NeShemar? Some German cyborg, perhaps?”
“You’ve heard about Otto, then? More than adoption, but I’ll let you see for yourselves; he’s in the back working right now. Let me introduce you to him! OTTO! “
“Otto, can you come out here and say hello to some people?”
“Ich komme, Mutter!”
cluph, cluph, cluph, cluph, Cluph, Cluph, Cluph, CLUPH, CLUPH, CLUPH, CLUPH!
“Wast ist los?”
“Otto, say hello to two good friends of mine, Analise Flamespear and Deni Shieldbreaker!”
“Ah! Guten tag, sehr er freut!”
“Otto, please speak English, dear, you’re in America.”
“Hoopla! Es tut mir--I mean, I’m sorry, Mother! How’s this?”
“Much better, Otto.”
”Hah-hah! Hello, good day, ladies, I’m pleased to meet you both!”
“Pleasure to meet you...”
“Otto, dear, if you’re not too busy, could you go over to Hammerhand’s compound later and pick up the new axles for Grimmin Rocklifter’s salvage truck? Grimmin told me they’re ready!”
“Kein problem! I mean, no problem! I’m just about finished up working on Squad Leader Roma’s hoverbarge--”
“Finish that up first. No hurry there. Now be off with you, boy!”
“All right, Mutter!”
CLUPH, CLUPH, CLUPH, Cluph, Cluph, Cluph, cluph, cluph, cluph, cluph!
“Such a GOOD boy, Otto! He’s so helpful, working on the vehicles like that! Well, what do you girls think?”
“Errr...he’s such a BIG boy...”
“He’s...WIDE....Was that a MOUTH up there? He must eat like a...”(hands go wide)
”Oh, he doesn’t eat THAT much; he’s still got room in him for storage, but he’s still a work in progress. He’s got room to grow. Once I finish balancing them, I’ll give him gravity thrusters for his Upgrade.”
“Not very fast or powerful, just enough to let him keep up with his big brother.”
The Spinster/Tinkers of the NeShemar are always creating new artificial lifeforms, a tradition that was established during the early days of the Shemarrian Civil War, when the rebel Ecotroz Shemar were seeking to bolster their numbers of warriors and warmounts, in the days before Progen became widespread. As much priority was given to modifying existing robots and other equipment to Shemarrian specs as was to repairing older equipment. Rebel Tinkers, honing their creativity and skills, turned out dozens, if not hundreds, of prototype ‘Enimals’, and to an lesser extent, NeShemar cyborg frames, many of them one-offs, before final models were approved for mass production in the Assembler Forges that were spreading ahead of the Progen technology. Similarly, the Ecotroz were becoming more proficient at diversifying/spreading into a wider variety of robot forms, forming a larger and more diverse ‘electronic ecology’ or cyber ‘gene pool’.
Even when Progen tecchnology became more widely available, experimentation continued, especially on animal-form Ecotroz Enimals, as the Tinkers sought to create a diverse array of new weapons and beasts of utility to the new Nation. Experimentation and the creation of SENTIENT robots was much more restrained, however. Though the spreading of the Ecotroz Awakening had added the R’Mar and a number of other former robots to the ranks of the NeShemar beholding to the EShemar, the EShemar preferred to increase their numbers via Progen, the Awakening of enslaved Shemarrians, and the addition of cyborg NeShemar. The creation of the so-called ‘Myrmidons’ (low-intelligence Ecotroz born of the conversion of robotic drones, especially from the bite of EShemar Wolves*), didn’t sit entirely well with the EShemar Elders, who feared it smacked uncomfortably of the very slavery they’d rebelled against. There was also a matter of some bias in favor of converting more humanoid and sophisticated robots; the Ecotroz tending to favor quality over quantity in this respect. So wholesale conversion of robots, especially mass-production types like the Coalition’s Skelebots or Triax’s Dynabots, was frowned on. Likewise, the creation of sentient Awakened robots for wholly utilitarian or amusement purposes.
Still, the temptation was there, especially for younger or less experienced Tinkers with access to salvage, an Assembler Forge, and a desire to test something out or prove something. More than a few Tinkers have gone beyond simply programming a new robo-animal and granting it an animal psych-mind, and tried their hand at creating, then Awakening, more personable and intelligent psi-bots. Such have included modifications of existing stock robots, power armor, and robot vehicles, though there have been a few true chimeras made up of various parts.
These psuedo NeShemar have come to be known as ‘Orseme’, Original Sentient Mechanisms.
EShemar Elders tend to frown on the unauthorized creation of Orseme (since it harkens to the creation of Myrmidons), owing to the (fortunately as-yet-unrealized) potential that such experiments might create genuine monsters. Penalties for creating Orseme can be hard, especially when Tribe resources are scant, and can result in the Tinker in question being denied access to further Tribe resources, and assigned ‘minders’, or even forced to accept retraining under a more responsible Tinker, a loss of status and personal leeway that can be damning for a Tinker. More often than not, a Tinker responsible for creating an Orseme is assigned the task of parenting the new intelligence and making sure the Awakened psi-bot is properly introduced into EShemar society. In most cases, this isn’t a problem, as the Tinkers happily take responsibility for their ‘kids’, but in a few extreme cases, the young Orseme may become a ward of the Tribe, and fostered to other Tribe members.
Orseme are considered to be NeShemar, and every effort is made to fit them into the NeShemar sub-culture. However, this can be difficult at times, especially when a seven ton eight-legged psi-bot tries hanging out with its friends at a local township or decides to go courting. Most Orseme get along just fine in EShemar society, finding some niche to call their own, but it is rumored that the more disenchanted psi-bots have gravitated towards their own subculture, contributing to the rumors of a ‘Monster Tribe’ or the so-called ‘Shadowblades’.
*A spate of ‘robo-werewolf-ish’ was said to have afflicted numbers of Skelebots and and labor robots in the wake of reports of Shemarrian Wolves in Eastern North America, leading to abnormal behavior, inexplicable malfunctions, and even wholesale disappearances of the robot drones. Coalition soldiers operating in the East typically destroyed malfunctioning Skelebots in the wake of Wolf attacks as a field expedient.