Image from Bernd Helfert

In the past whole lineages of vecs were engineered, mass-manufactured and later became obsolete. This is still the case today in some places. Many of these systems were manufactured to be conspicuously non-sapient, to function perfectly in their slave role capacity. After having served in a functional capacity, these machines, androids, replicants, drones and probes, ranging in function from madverts to sex-toys to combat systems have lost out in the memetic significance economy and are left to shift for themselves.

Nearly all factotums still cling to a residual drive to be of service, and having found out the hard way this won't be the case anytime soon, they face a continuous uphill battle to accommodate their creators (or anyone that can be perceived as ersatz-creator) in some way. They just need to feel useful.

The popular folkloric and anthropocentric image of battered derelict androids wandering pangalactic civilization is long past. Factotums are rarely humanoid any more, and in fact few bots and vecs even were even at the start. Insectoid forms, mini-tractors, even bushbots and christmastrees, and other configurations were more common as far back as the pre-Interplanetary Age religion, an extension of extropist philosophy, based on rigid application of Extropian Principles and worship of Max More as an avatar. Although the actual Max More simm and eir associated copies and ais vigorously denounced the movement, its leadership retained control through a selective isolation of the community in the Belt Habitat Extropia. (This habitat, along with the few remaining members of the sect, were destroyed in the Technocalypse in 565 AT).

Most have degenerated into dronelike swarms of individual interlinked components. It is not uncommon to see an alien head with gaffer-taped or glued-on factory micro-manipulators, besieged with microforms, scurrying to safety.

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Development Notes
Text by Dagon
Initially published on 16 February 2004.