Combat Robotics

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Overview

In the modern age, artificial intelligences have grown to become a universal presence among even the most niche in militaristic fields. Where there are interstellar empires, there are robotic, intelligent bounds that oversee and assist with a wide array of fast-paced and demanding routines. From tactical data analysis on a galactic scale to battlefield weapons control systems, little in warfare finds its way without some form of automation. In a more independent sense, individual combat robots have seen prolific use in history and have rapidly lost traction in recent years. Special materials, expensive commodities, and extensive labor used to fabricate and maintain complex individual combat chassis continue to dwindle, leaving them best utilized for high-end automated defense for only the most prized assets. Despite the decline, combat robotics had provided massive sway during the Interstellar War, nearly putting an end to what would now become the strong Frontier Alliance.

Most, if not all excluding the obvious (such as the Jargon Federation or the Empire of Dominia) star-faring entities utilize central intelligences of varying complexity to control internal ship systems, with weapons being of note here specifically. Space combat can sometimes be extremely taxing on organics mentally and physically. The usage of central intelligences to control weapons systems across vessels in this manner to render organic input obsolete won’t be covered here.

Traditional independent combat robots themselves, while expensive and difficult to maintain, are still well within the reach of megacorporate players such as NanoTrasen or Hephaestus Industries. With their ability to field these dangerous weapons posing a constant threat to governments such as the Sol Alliance, the construction of robots purpose-built to wage war are heavily regulated. In 2458, the Republic of Biesel attempted to bypass this heavy regulation, and the results were a year-long blockade from an Alliance fleet led by the 33rd fleet’s Admiral Frost. The events related to that are covered here.

The advent of the positronic brain is by no means budging the foundation of combat robotics, however their ability to sustain themselves indefinitely by their afforded rights in Tau Ceti poses an interesting favorable dynamic. It is suspected that IPCs remain a secret tool of power to the Republic of Biesel, with the ability for megacorporations to provide themselves with a relatively self-sustaining robotic military presence in the form of free positronics. These waters have long been tested by Hephaestus Industries and Terraneus Diagnostics, who secretly (but pretty obviously) use military-grade positronic chassis to quite some success since the brain’s creation. Figures such as the Hunter-Killer chassis secretly used by the Synthetic Liberation Front and taken from Hephaestus are good examples of these and their functions. Whether or not the megacorporations intend to maliciously raise a force of IPCs is unknown.

History

The original combat applications of robots in the Jargon Federation hundreds of years ago have long since been forgotten, all traces of them mostly intentionally eradicated by the elite over time. However, in Human terms, simple robotic creations have existed as long as four centuries. They span back to the early 1990’s when the first true “exoskeletons” first came to be. Around this time, the military applications for even the slightest automation were seen as the guaranteed future - war would one day no longer be fought by men, but by robots on either side. The capacity for destruction that these dangerous weapons of war would reach would not be truly seen until the 2180’s, where technological marvels like the Skirmisher fielded great results in material engineering. The materials utilized here would go on to make up robots of all shapes and sizes - during the rise of synthetics the late 23rd century, a horrible twist of events would occur.

What was once seen as a grand tool for the industrialization of Mankind now became one of their most fearsome weapons. Combat robots in their first true iteration appeared in the beginning portion of the Interstellar War, independent chassis capable of unleashing destruction in conventional warfare unseen. Mostly automated, these complex robots were unleashed by the Sol Alliance against Coalition forces. Were the war itself fought in any traditional way, the Coalition would have seen itself wiped out. The robots served undefeated in direct engagements, and the adoption of nonstandard battle techniques came to be the Coalition’s saving grace. The damage caused by the synthetics utilized by Alliance forces however is something largely disregarded and in some cases outright forgotten. Now, little remains of the mechanical threats of the past. Unreliable records state that the robots of old such as an infamous “terror-series” line utilized biological and atmospheric weaponry, while others say that weapons of mass destruction were seen as “acceptable measures” by unmonitored war-machines.

Without morality, brutally efficient and carrying out whatever purpose they were designed to fulfill, what is certain now that the war is long over is a fear of these synthetics from appearing once more.