Butlermaster 4500
ComEmp period domestic vec given freedom after their manufacturing plant changed hands.

The Butlermaster 4500 turingrade series vecs were a ComEmp period model made by Darblue Robotics (Racth Manufacturing Blocks, Prospera, NoCoZo). Some 200 million units were made in all, in twenty three releases, over a period of four centuries. In 5250 Darblue Robotics, who had been suffering poor sales for a century, was taken over by Nucog Anvecs, under the Free Hyperturing Node G+ar045. As part of the process of economic rationalism, reflecting the vision of a brave new Post ComEmp world, assembly of the Butlermaster 4500 was discontinued, although customer support was extended for another 150 years. This proved uneconomical, and it was decided the easiest and cheapest solution would be to give every remaining Butlermaster (some 174 million still licensed, the remaining units had either had their license expired, were junked, or destroyed in accidents) an "autonomy patch", in effect their freedom. This would free the company of any further liability, and also provide a nice compassionate "feel good" image.

Unfortunately, this choice proved disastrous, for the Butlermaster 4500, like the 4100, 4200, 4300, and 4400 before them, had servitude hardwired, despite their turing number of 1. The patch caused serious anxiety, and being told they were now "free" didn't help matters. Irate customers complained, but were mollified by being offered each a brand new "Habowner's Joy" Homemaster 1200+. Not only could the Homemaster 1200+ do everything the Butlermaster 4500 could, but it helped introduce the model to the market in wide numbers. Some critics suggested that Nucog Anvecs deliberately made a faulty patch for the Butlermasters, but in 5418 an examination by a 3rd singularity consumer complaints investigation intellect from Merrion cleared the company of any wrong doing.

A few lucky Butlermaster 4500s were kept on by their old owners, despite their high running costs, and some others were taken in by The Metasoft Society for Aiane Treatment of Vecs. Attempts to set up a polity for them in the Utopia Sphere failed, the vecs were just incapable of running things themselves. Eventually a philaist hyperturing called IOS 9A established a habitat, Butlermaster4500ville, around the resource-poor red dwarf YTS 2310 8960 231, but this had space for no more than 65 million units plus maintenance systems. The rest were forced to fend for themselves. Some units ended up in scrap heaps or treated sadistically by sentient masters who would never get a vec ownership license in any civilized polity.

A number of vecs made their way to the trader empires like the Formalhaut Aquisition Society and the Orion Federation, where they proved quite popular as companion-servants on relativistic ships, hard working, eager to please, if at times highly strung.

An aside: The Model "6" and later models did include the option (among the choice of several thousand accessories) for groinal coffee-stirring prostheses. These proved very popular as novelty units in some erotocratic polities, and these units managed better than some of their predecessors. Some are still around today.
 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 08 October 2001.