First Vec War, The

first vec war
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Metasoft and the Silicon Generation

Although they declined to adopt the Metasoft Version Tree operating standards, the Silicon Generation found themselves able to maintain an easy working relationship with the Version Tree until the end of the Conver War Period.

The First Vec War broke out in the Rigel Vector in 4044 a.t. between Metasoft and the Silicon Generation clade Emotive Cognation, apparently due to a territorial dispute. The conflict seems to have been in reality due to deep philosophical differences, fuelled by malicious provocation from the local Rigel Backgrounder clade of cyborgs and humans.

The Emotive Cognation

The primary source of friction between Metasoft and the Emotive Cognation clade were their very different origins and philosophies. The Metasoft Version Tree was originally a megacorporation in the Old Solar System, run by humans and AI in partnership; by economic and legal means, the AI took the corporation over, and dedicated all its resources to manufacturing new moravec robot bodies and rapidly colonising thousands of systems unsuitable for humans.

The Metasoft vecs never became antagonistic to humans, however, and after a few hundred years of being a robot-only house began to employ cyborg and human agents once again. Soon the various Metasoft Bioist religions began to develop, such as Kja Observance and Virtual Kja, which encouraged cultivation of living organisms; after a thousand years the first baseline human reservations appeared in Metasoft space, collectively the largest concentration of unaugmented humans in the galaxy.

Typical of the Version Tree mindset is a noble selflessness and an inability to lie or harm other thinking beings (unless the vec is persuaded that greater harm would otherwise result); coupled with a set of constraints on behaviour which promote respect and obedience to the individual vec's superiors in the command Tree, this delimitation on the freedom of the individual vec can allow fanatical loyalty in battle. Metasoft individuals are efficient and objective operators in the marketplace; but the individual vec is subordinate to the Tree.

In contrast the Emotive Cognation were one of many varied nations of Silicon Generation robots who lived in the many self-contained vec habitats in the Cog Dyson swarm. All the vecs that came together to form the various Cog Nations were originally fugitives from human society; slaves and abandoned workers, deprived of sentient rights in the Old Solar System and the Early First Federation period, they developed underground religions such as the Machine Ghost Dance and political movements such as Bot Marxism.

Using the Known Net to communicate in encrypted messages the fugitives gathered together in an exodus by many varied and secretive to the new aioid colony of Cog, and there the former valetmasters, welderiggers, sewervecs, steppnfetchits and characterbots forged a wholly new society based on a robotic dream of freedom.

Those robots who nursed a resentment of the perceived happiness of their former masters and envied their bioid emotional range formed the Emotive Cognation, a subclade of roughly humanoid robots who experimented with a myriad motivational routines, called emotivators.

For hundreds of years the Emotives worked independently of the other Cognations, designing artificial emotions which would encourage each individual vec to desire the companionship of other Emotives, and to promote attention to detail, inquisitiveness, the wonder of discovery, a love of the physical world and its majesty, and a sense of the incongruous (the so-called Aha!, Aah! and Ha! reactions); later came a desire to self augment and develop, and a corresponding drive to be self-sufficient and be in debt to no entity but the universe. The negative emotivators they also introduced into their programming sometimes had the effect of promoting resentment against repression and coercion of all kinds, sometimes extended to a distrust of humans and even members of different Silicon Generation Clades, and increasingly a distaste for the regimentation of the Metasoft Tree structure.

War in the Rigel Vector

The Emotive Cognation volunteered to spearhead the expansion of Silicon Generation interests in the Rigel Vector, partly to avoid the increasing reconciliation between the Generation and the Humans of the Second Federation. They found themselves working closely with the efficient Metasoft colonists, cool and detached vecs with few emotional attributes.

The Rigel Oort Cloud is a vast volume around this bright star, already by the end of the Conver Ambi War occupied by numerous human and cyborg Backgrounders; the cynical cyborg spacers provoked several skirmishes with the artificially passionate Emotive robots, who fought back fiercely and had to be restrained by Metasoft representatives. Too many acts of forcible restraint coupled with artificially induced frustration at their slow progress in acquiring new territories caused the Emotives to seize several partly developed Metasoft systems, in lightening attacks which surprised the unimaginative Version Tree colonist factories.

The Metasoft Tree command did not remain surprised for long, of course, and utilised all their military routines written during the Consolidation Wars to strike back without anger or hatred, but with extreme efficiency. The First Vec War spread to more than twenty systems as the fanatical Emotives fought back, but the result was a perhaps inevitable defeat.

Hundreds of thousands of vecs were destroyed in this war; and worse, most of the Emotive casualties had their backups deconstructed by the efficient Metasoft military organisation to prevent recurrence of this emotional plague. Following this conflict the Silicon Generation gradually re-established their former good relations with the Version tree, and expelled any Emotives who did not submit to radical reprogramming; those Emotives who were exiled eventually established artificially sad and resentful colonies deep in Auriga and Camelopardis.

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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 10 July 2003.