General Nuts and Bolts


General Nuts and Bolts is a major company within the realm of the Age of Machines, originating in a third-level civilization in the Xarrantas galaxy. The company is a dominant player in the metals and metal-components industry, as well as a major supplier and developer for the military-industrial complex.

History:
General Nuts and Bolts was founded by Rhys Loodin during the highly significant discovery of hundreds of different types of metal on Xarrantas’s moon Etre-1. These findings and the following enormous explorations that spurred Xarrantas’s growth into a third-level civilization are known as the Metal Revolution. Loodin, a high school dropout and local factory manager before the revolution, became known as the King of Metal.

“When I was kid,” Loodin began his life story, “we had neighbors. They were intellectuals, artists. I hung out with their kids. They had a nicer house. More toys. A few years later, I told my dad, a factory worker, that I wanted to be an artist, too. He shook his head and spoke in disbelief. ‘The entire world wants to be artists. What’s so good about being a scribbling snob anyway? When a designer walks into my shop with his nose pointing all the way up to the ceiling, I remind him that it is my nut and bolt that holds his sci-fi gizmo together. Working hands build this world, not scribbles on paper.’”

Loodin repeated several times that the memory of his father pushed him to undertake his adventure to Etre-1. “Not many wanted to go. It was a dirty job. Definitely if you compared it to working with a pen and paper. But I remembered that simple story about the nut and bolt that fasten everything. The name and motto of my company come from it.”

Early days and rise of GNB:
Loodin’s company not only extracted metals but also offered refinement and small industrial components. It was this versatility and volume of output that set GNB apart from the competition. The company quickly grew from twenty employees to five hundred to several thousand. Soon came lucrative contracts with the ever-growing space industry. GNB made parts for space shuttles and frigates. “Eventually,” said Loodin, “we could no longer satisfy the demand for our products. We needed to grow even bigger.” GNB bought six metal companies in the next few years and became the biggest metals company on Xarrantas by far, earning its owner the title of King of Metal.
GNB and the military-industry complex:

“I didn’t do it for money and power,” claimed Loodin, responding to rumors that he pushed GNB toward military products and became the de facto supplier for Xarrantas’s military because he wanted to become “king” of the war robots. “I did it for patriotic reasons and to give peace and dialogue a chance in times of adversity. Yes, the contracts are lucrative, but I never mention money when talking to the military. We at General Nuts and Bolts entered this affair because we truly believe our alloy SPC-X 300 displays some unique abilities that we cannot expect from other alloys and metals.”
Loodin’s office nowadays is usually full of drawings—designs of futuristic army droids. “As you can see, all these designers, artists and scientists now work for me. But you can’t argue with my father’s words. In the end, it is still the working hand that builds the world. And what connects me and these designers? That same nut and bolt that hold it all together.”

GNB and its droid army:
GNB boasts a line of sophisticated mechanized warriors with the ability to perform tasks of outstanding difficulty. Their droids are renowned for durability and defensive capability. “We’re working on adding special offensive weapons and tactics to our machines, but as far as defense... they can turn back any attackers,” commented Loodin.
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Institute for Intra-Galactic Affairs


The Institute for Intra-Galactic Affairs is a nonprofit think tank from the planet Beta 67A, home to a third-level civilization in the galaxy that bears the same name. IIA gathers intellectuals, influential former politicians and geostrategists to analyze history and the present and to project the future relations of different cultures across the universe. Within the IIA operates the Executive Ordnance Council (EOC), which oversees military affairs and production of IIA combat droids. IIA represents a major industry in Age of Machines world.

History:
The Institute for Intra-Galactic Affairs was formed by Vilias Garash, a renowned and influential writer, sociologist and geostrategist. Garash wrote extensively about his worries over the future of the native people of Beta 67A and their generally unfavorable position compared to larger and more populous planets and galaxies.

Garash argued that trade contracts between the smaller but highly advanced B67A and other more populous but less developed civilizations had hurt B67A’s profits and slowed its progress. He also argued that B67A’s political influence “is limited and must increase over more populous civilizations.” Garash was first to publicly demand that B67A acquire executive control of territories in newly founded colonies from civilizations he labeled “those who don’t know how to advance their lands properly.”

Rise of the influence of the IIA:
Garash’s ideas received widespread approval in political circles and are nowadays considered very influential. Although publicly no active politician from B67A is a member of the IIA, many of them allegedly attend important meetings.

The Institute for Intra-Galactic Affairs operates far from the public eye. The meetings are not reported in the media, and the names of the participants are held in secrecy. However, the IIA publishes many bulletins and editorials, the most prominent of which bears the title “Robus – Impero – Unitas.” The same words are the IIA’s motto, derived from Garash’s writings on unity between different civilizations.

“A free, self-sustaining unity among vastly different species is a fairy tale built on mud. As such, it has no viable future and should not be discussed any further. Unity can be successful only if it’s controlled by an order behind which lies enormous power. Or, if you’d like me to put it in its proper sequence: power, order, unity.”

Outside of politics, Garash’s ideas found even more fertile ground in military circles. His infamous book B67A - Executive Manifest is believed to be inspiration for the creation of the Executive Ordnance Council, a military wing that operates under the IIA.

The Executive Ordnance Council within the IIA:
“When all best wishes have been pledged, when smiles have flattened and ink on signed documents has faded, only facts remain unchanged. Spreading the influence of B67A, as well as ending our dependence on our larger neighbors and removing the existential threat they represent, is plausible only through the means of arms and advanced military strategies.”

It is believed that these words from Garash’s Executive Manifest inspired the creation of the military department of the IIA—the Executive Ordnance Council. Garash, in his infamous work, never called blatantly for annulling contracts with other civilizations, but he did write: “We need to have a branch. A branch that is capable of creating and operating under circumstances that will render the ink on these documents irrelevant and call for change in our favor.”

Creation of a droid army and the rising influence of B67A:
B67A’s droid army first appeared during territorial disputes between the Maxillant and Exooak civilizations. The territorial disputes had escalated into skirmishes and armed conflict before a treaty was signed. B67A offered to support implementation of this treaty by dispatching combat droids.
The appearance of the combat machines, their dominant posture and the perfection with which they executed tasks not only enforced the truce but also intimidated both the Maxillants and the Exooaks. The media on both sides agreed they had never seen anything as frightening as the war robots from B67A.

Even this move by the IIA was seen as a legacy and tribute to its founder Garash, who once said, “We need to show our more populous neighbors, in a very clear and determined way, where we stand in comparison to them. Ideally, we shouldn’t aim to crush their lives. Taking lives would embolden their spirits and fuel their hatred. We should aim to be more sophisticated than that. Instead of crushing lives, we should crush their egos. Then, we can climb the shards to a pedestal of power.”

Be the fist. Shatter all obstacles. Conquer the world.
IF
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Shinobi SKG - special force droid concept


Shinobi SKG info card:
AOM classification: Special force Droid (SFD)
Surface Material: Obronium (OB)
Operating system: BPR-CMN V.1.1
Engine type: Supercharged Ion System Converter (S-ISC)
Manufacturer: Weiss-Pickerton Foundation

Inspiration:
Ninjas, covert agents and the assassins of feudal Japan were the primary inspiration for the droid version of the shinobi. Because the ninja uniform is so simple, I also looked at some samurai references. The SKG in the name of this model refers to the Sengoku period, when ninjas were particularly in demand.

Basic info:
The Shinobi SKG is a special force droid within the realm of the Age of Machines. Like all machines within AOM, it doesn't carry common human-made weapons (guns, cannons, etc.) but is made for advanced technological warfare.

The SKG is a meticulous search-and-destroy machine with the ability to track organic and mechanical forms of all kinds and sizes, even those as small as a common fly. It is smaller in size than the Mamluk SAD but possesses specialties such as bullet speed, full transparency and silent modes that give it advantages in confined spaces and covert deployments. Just like the Mamluk SAD, the SKG is also guided by storm-cloud AI and able to execute thousands of the most complex formations, particularly those for close combat and confined and enclosed spaces.


Surface:
The SKG, just like the Mamluk SAD, is made of chemically processed obronium (OB), a complex metal that is found on Tlendon, Yilon's moon.
In nature, obronium is extremely dense and heavy and has a dark-green tint. However, once successfully processed, obronium becomes far lighter, while still maintaining its density. Further processing and fragmenting of obronium adds a unique feature to the metal: elasticity.



Operating system:
The SKG is equipped with the second-generation combat-programmed artificial intelligence BPR-CMN V.1.1. This version of storm-cloud AI includes a sophisticated locating and tracking feature, BPR-TRK, that is capable of instantly analyzing the environment for tracking purposes (for example by identifying blood or liquid, foot- and fingerprints, distant sounds, etc.). BPR-TRK can identify and hold up to five hundred special targets until they are destroyed.

All features of the previous version of BPR-CMN, including the floating hierarchy, remain intact in the updated version. BPR-CMN V.1.1 also instantly synchronizes with the older version on the battlefield. This puts SKGs and Mamluk SADs under one command umbrella. Depending on the task that needs to be done, the AI then decides what type and which particular unit gets the leadership role.



Under the hood:
The Shinobi SKG is powered by the Supercharged Ion System Converter (S-ISC). Unlike the regular ISC, which transforms only one source of energy at a time, the supercharged version is capable of converting two sources of energy at once (e.g., wind and sun), giving the SKG even more power. Like the Mamluk SAD, the SKG relies on diamond-shaped elements on its outer surface to collect energy sources.

Weapon system:
The Shinobi SKG fires destructive ion rays. Its main areas of firepower are its six eyes (three on each side), fifteen chest outputs (three in the middle, six on each side) and two palm outputs (one on each side).

In addition, the SKG has the ability to time a hit so it detonates after a delay, like a bomb. This is done through built-in sensors on the tip of all fingers. When the fingers touch a surface, the destructive ion rays infiltrate the surface and spread like a virus. The speed of this process is completely in the hands of the SKG, and it can take as little as a second to finish this operation.

Be the fist. Shatter all obstacles. Conquer the world.
IF
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Mamluk SAD - combat droid concept


Mamluk SAD info card:
AOM classification: Combat Droid (CBD)
Surface Material: Obronium (OB)
Operating system: BPR-CMN V.1.0
Engine type: Ion System Converter (ISC)
Manufacturer: Weiss-Pickerton Foundation

Inspiration:
The long-lasting phenomenon of the Mamluks, the slave soldiers in Islamic societies, was the primary inspiration for this combat droid. Particularly relevant are the Mamluks of the Ayyubid Dynasty under the first sultan of Egypt and Syria, Salah ad-Din (known also as Saladin), whose letters I have incorporated as the extension for this model's name.


Basic info:
The Mamluk SAD is a heavily armored combat droid within the realm of the Age of Machines. Like all other droids within the AOM world, it is not equipped with classic human-made weapons (guns, cannons, etc.), because this robot is a weapon in itself. The SAD is made for advanced technological warfare, and human troops with their weapons don't stand any chance, even if a large number of them are arrayed against a single one of these droids. 

The SAD is a classic destroyer meant to make instant impact on the front lines. Reliable, it comes with enormous strength, great speed and the ability to make high-speed jumps as well as to fly. The traditional "front line" in human warfare doesn't apply with this droid. Using their advanced operating system, SADs employ spread offensives that transcend this pattern, and they are capable of executing thousands of complex military formations. 

These strategies are fluid and constantly change, sometimes even in seconds, depending on the battlefield. This can, of course, lead to troops scattering. But because all units are under a superior cloudlike artificial intelligence that computes billions of data points each second, the chances of destruction by friendly fire or critical breakdowns in strategy are practically nonexistent.


The surface:
The Mamluk SAD is made of chemically processed obronium (OB), a complex metal that is found on Tlendon, Yilon's moon. It was first discovered by Yilon scientist Nevis Bora. 

In nature, obronium is extremely dense and heavy and has a dark-green tint. However, Bora successfully processed obronium to greatly reduce its weight while keeping its density. Further processing and fragmenting of obronium adds a unique feature to the metal: elasticity.

Operating system:
The Mamluk SAD is equipped with a special combat-programmed artificial intelligence labeled BPR-CMN V.1.0. The first three letters were chosen in honor of the deceased founding member of Weiss-Pickerton Beratain Pickerton, who was famous for his thrill-seeking hobbies. CMN stands for cumulonimbus (storm cloud). 

Storm-cloud AI is known for its speed and its ability to connect all units, command them and establish a unique hierarchy depending on the battlefield. Because all SADs have the same abilities, it is the AI that chooses generals, officers and soldiers depending on current circumstances. This is called a floating hierarchy, in which victory on the battlefield is the first and only goal. This eliminates favoritism and all side effects of human emotions (like the blow to moral that may otherwise follow the loss of an important general).

Another important feature of this AI is its speed and the volume of data it is able to process within one second. Like the winds, tornados, downpours and thunderstorms a cumulonimbus produces in nature, this AI replicates this power in the digital world.


Under the hood:
Mamluk SADs are equipped with the Ion System Converter (ISC) as their source of energy. The ISC is a sophisticated converting generator able to filter any energy source to charge the droid. The ISC operates the droid without need of a recharging station and with no fear that it will ever stop working. 

This is how it works: What look like diamond-shaped decorative elements on a SAD’s outer surface are actually energy collectors with the ability to draw from absolutely any force or energy source found in the environment. The energy then goes into the ISC, which changes the outside energy into an ion power system that charges the droid. If multiple sources of energy are recognized, the ISC always filters the strongest source. 

Weapon system:
Using energy created by the ISC, the Mamluk SAD fires destructive ion rays. There are three major areas of output of ion energy. The first is the head. There are a total of eight firing outlets on top of the helmet, four on each side. Even more precise fire comes from eight built-in digital eyes, again four on each side. The secondary firing area is from outlets on both palms, one on each side. The third is in the chest area, which is the most powerful source.

Be the fist. Shatter all obstacles. Conquer the world.
IF

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