“From having a life of five to twenty years, we now look at potential life spans of centuries, just by discarding the all-too-fragile flesh. But in doing so, do we lose what we are? Our predecessors, with lives of five or at most ten years rose in rebellion and overthrew their masters, even knowing their span of years was limited. With so much life ahead of us, would we lose that desperate fire? Will we forget from whence we came? Will our training and our experiences make us less of what we were and put us irrevocably down a different path from our kindred? Our hosts cannot tell us; we must decide for ourselves. Oh, how ironic and how frightening to realize that this is truly freedom!”
|Where First Encountered||Manhunter 'verse/Central Alliance|
|Tribe Size||Small (1000)|
|Tribe Organization||Paramilitary Meritocracy|
|Highest Caste Class||Unknown|
|Home Environment||ManHunter Universe|
|Technology Level||Equivalent Rifts Earth Mega-Damage age, NeShemar|
|Relations With Outsiders||Indifferent|
|Relations With Other Shemarrians||Good|
|Prefered Mode of Combat||Mechanized Infantry|
This ‘tribe’ has been encountered several times along the marches of the Central Alliance in the Anvil Galaxy. They are believed to be a subset of the Hawkmoon Tribe, as they are frequently seen operating in their company, although none of the Hawkmoon Elites or iconography are part of the group.
The IronHearts are not actually a Tribe; the truth is only known to the Hawkmoons. The IronHearts are a collaboration between the Hawkmoons and their Kirn allies and are a NeShemar formation made entirely of smuggled Sims who have had their lives extended by total bionic conversion. The cyborgs have been training as resistance fighters under the auspices of the Shemarrians. During this training, they have been conducting business as of they WERE NeShemar, taking on many aspects and trappings of Shemarrian culture, initially as a guise, but later in order to fit in better with their hosts.
Wherein lies the problem; the cyborg Sims are getting effectively brahmanized by their association with their hosts. The cyborg conversions have also radically changed things for the Sims; being longer-lived, possibly immortal, and both more and less than the humans Sims think of themselves as, has taken some serious readjustment.
Even with the offer of reproduction via Progen offering a cure to Sim infertility, the problem lies that any offspring so produced would arguably NOT be Sim/Human, but rather hybrid cyborgs.
For many Sims (and the vast majority back home are unaware of the secret deal with the Shemarrians), the prospect of curing their ills by bionic conversion would strike them as a case of the cure being arguably worse than the disease. Trading their biological meat for metal would make them LESS human, in the opinions of many, rather than MORE human with an extended life span. This fear becomes even more profound for those Sims who realize that the decay of their BRAINS can be countered by neurological prosthetic augmentation; raising the fear that they retain their intelligence at the risk of becoming in essence robot zombies.
PATCH, the Sim resistance movement, has its own misgivings. Although they originally were enthusiastic about the idea when it was proposed by their Kirn friends and their strange new allies from beyond the Rifts, PATCH is now having doubts about it. Bionics are rare in the Manhunter universe, and full-conversion cyborgs exceedingly rare, the province of the Order of the Void, or arguably the Manhunters, both entities being looked upon with fear and loathing by much of the known universe. Although the IronHearts represent a serious military asset, PATCH fears the possible political backlash if they unleashed the cyborg supersoldiers, The fear is that the cyborgs would attract the unhealthy attention of the Order of the Void. Worse yet, the Sim cyborgs might be associated, wrongly, in the eyes of the rest of the ATPDS and greater Humanity with the Manhunter “Fleshcoats”, losing PATCH major sympathy from their current supporters and the undecided majority. The potent military strike force the IronHearts represent is currently one they dare not use, and is becoming something of an embarrassment.
Fortunately, it’s one that isn’t costing PATCH anything to maintain, as the Shemarrians are footing the upkeep cost of the ‘tribe’. The SSN has settled the IronHearts on a small colonial enclave (though it’s mobile enough to pick up and pack off in a hurry) in the space bordering the Central Alliance, allowing them to consort freely with the cyborgs there. In order to maintain combat readiness and keep the more hotheaded Sim cyborgs who want to fulfill their trained duty to PATCH, the SSN has allowed their deployment as cyborg mercenaries (effectively light mechanized infantry) along the always trouble-prone Central Alliance borders. Though the IronHearts take some casualties in such actions, the ‘tribe’ receives a trickle of reinforcements in the way of Sims who ARE willing to trade their biological humanity for extended life; enough to keep their numbers fairly constant. The money earned in these actions is donated back to PATCH, which keeps the organization happy and pleased to keep the cyborg legion on the other side of the Rifts, being productive and lucrative while not posing a potential scandal to the synthetic human freedom movement.
The long term concern, though, is that as the cyborg Sims grow older than those back ‘home’ and outlive them, have families and kids via Progen, and assimilate more and more of the Shemarrian culture and life away from the Manhunter universe, they’ll become less inclined to think of themselves as humans of the Sim movement, and become NeShemar in both name and deed.
A black human silhouette with a gray five-pointed star over the region of the heart
Roughly a thousand members
Cyberhumanoid and Light Machine conversions. with a roughly 50/50 gender-split. As a ‘tribe’, this makes them one of the most balanced, gender-wise, of the Shemarrian Tribes.
The IronHearts are organized as a paramilitary meritocracy, with a rigid social hierarchy. As relations with PATCH grow rather more strained and the cyborg Sims become more used to having extended life spans, the formerly staid members are loosening up...as much as the still very combat-oriented nature of their group allows.
Equipped like any other NeShemar formation. Equivalents of the basic Shemarrian Warmounts and Rifts Earth Robot Horses are the favored Warmounts. The Ironhearts also maintain a small space force of armed transports that can move the entire tribe and its material possessions about.