Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Colseran Robots: To Serve and Consume

A Replicator from Stargate
Oblivion_Necroninja here (O_N for short). Today I'd like to go into a little more depth about the machines that supply Colser with the resources it needs for its lavish lifestyle.

The Colserans need resources in quantities that defy description. Even with perfect material recycling, constant growth requires the constant influx of new materials. No Colseran wants the job of managing this production, as it would be to much like work. So they solved the problem the same way they solve any problem: telling the machines to take care of it. And the machines “take care of it” the same way they always do: by coming with the most efficient way to do EXACTLY what they’ve been told to do. The Colserans, of course, have no name for these mechanical servants, ever-toiling in obscurity, as that would require occasionally stopping to think about their existence. But they have a name for themselves: Genii.

The Genii are directed by controlling AIs, devoted entirely to coordinating major tasks, such as gathering new materials and defending Colser. These controlling AIs are known to mankind only as the mysterious ExEcutives.While the ExEcutivess theoretically control the Genii directly, the limitations of interstellar communication means that they are in fact fragmented entities, able to do little more than write dedicated AIs and set them to their tasks. Which means that, since the ExEcutives are always tweaking and improving the various servant AI designs, that they’re all untested. 

Deus Ex Machina

While some of these programs run fairly sustainable operations, like farming massive amounts of biomass in huge ring orbitals or skimming valuable elements off of gas giants, most are running solar system-stripping vessels which I’m just calling Harvesters for now. Harvesters work by jumping into a system with nothing more than a bunch of fabricator machines, stripping the whole thing bare, converting it into cargo-stuffed spaceships, and taking the ships home to dismantle them for raw materials.

Asteroids and ice planets, are simply destroyed and the pieces built into spaceships (more accurately, the pieces that are made of spaceship materials are made into spaceships and loaded with the pieces that aren’t). 

A great deal of materials are siphoned out of the atmosphere of gas giants, although (so far) their sheer size has made siphoning off all the gas to get at the dense, material-packed center take prohibitively long.

Terrestrial planets (like Earth), on the other hand, present a different problem. Simply blowing up the planet creates a huge mess of overheated materials, which requires time and energy to sort out. Simply strip-mining the world, on the other hand, would require shipping in equipment from out of system, which would waste time and energy. Luckily, the Mining ExEcutive has a solution, albeit a gruesome one.

 This process starts with the deployment of a fabrication plant, loaded with a Mining AI, onto a planet, and then the machines aboard begin the gruesome process of strip-mining the entire planetary crust and converting the materials into massive spaceships. Mining robots use planetary materials first to construct more mining and construction robots, and then to build the great spaceships. If the mining robots encounter resistance, they simply construct military machines to eliminate it. Power is supplied by either burning all of the planet’s biomass for fuel (the more “efficient” process, which means that Harvesters prefer life-bearing rocky worlds for processing) or using radioactive elements for fuel (which the harvesters would rather ship out, and reduces the fissile material for the final step). Near the end of the process, the robots cannibalize each other to construct the final spaceships. The spaceships are then propelled into orbit using massive bombs constructed from the planet’s fissile material (the whole “launch a spaceship with a nuke” idea), leaving nothing behind but a radioactive, burnt-out shell.


EDIT: Bot's name changed from Mechlocks to Genii. Article changes pending spelling decisions.
EDIT2: name change complete. Coordinating AI's tenatively renamed ExEcutive. While I was at it, I touched up the justifications for mining terrestrial worlds. Considering naming the Mining ExEcutive Mephistopheles or Mephistophel.ExE

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