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The Mech Network is the government to which all Mechs belong to, thus resulting in the Mech species and the Mech network being interchangeable. Existing uninterruptedly for over sixty-five million years, the Mech Network been very isolationist for most of its existence, trading with no outside sources until very recently. Due to little contact with the galaxy for millions of years, the Mech culture is very 'ancient', resulting in a samurai-like honor code among military units.
Mechs are machines. Every Mech is capable of thought on-par, if not quicker than, most organics. Higher-ranking Mechs generally possess the quicker processing power. The highest-ranked Installations are capable of processing data at near-light speed. Beyond this, Mech units vary greatly. Probably the most populous, Mech Intelligences (civilians in organic terms) exist solely inside networks. Physical existance is not required or even promoted. While they can communicate with organics and other Mechs, they can sometimes be limited due to the large number of signals substituting for facial expressions an organic cannot pick up. Due to this, mobile platforms are available to facilitate better organic-Mech communication. There are over eight-hundred-trillion Mech Intelligences in existance, though only twenty billion Mech Intelligences own mobile platforms.
The Mech Workers are generally wiry and have tools for hands (or tasks that they are assigned to do). There are eighty trillion Mech workers in Mech space, constantly repairing things or performing 'blue collar jobs'.
Soldiers have hands with six digits and a gun interface. They are mostly humanoid, but their size, processing power, and armaments depend on the function of the Mech. The average 'grunt' Mech is seven feet tall, towering compared to humans. The smallest Mech soldier, a recon drone, is about four feet tall and can disguise itself as various things. The largest Mech soldier, a destroyer, is over twenty feet tall and capable of unleashing massive amounts of damage.
The most advanced Mech, an Installation, is by far the most remarkable. Installations are built over the span of thousands, if not millions, of years, though the first ones were built within a decade or two. They contain Mech Intelligences in data hubs along with keeping their own intelligences in massive cores. The Installations are capable of quick thought and rational thinking. Every big decision is debated on by the Installations until a consensus (or a majority in cases of debates lasting for more than a few days).
The Mech Soldiers are generally modeled after the Phantoms, which were humanoid in appearance. They shared the ability to climb walls and perform stunning acrobatic feats.
The first Mechs were Worker Mechs with low intelligences. Created by the enigmatic race known to the modern galaxy as the Phantoms, the Mechs were a labor force aboard a massive terraforming project known as the Terra Forge. The space station was built around the planet of Hubra. Following the resignation of several Phantom overseers, the project lost almost all support. A last-ditch attempt to revive the project went underway: put an AI in charge of the operation.
The Terra Forge project sped up and finished within fifty years of the AIs installation, a monumental feat. The station was dismantled and redesigned to surround another planet in another system. As more places were terraformed, the Terra Forge changed and the workers were given more AI to make better choices. Before long, the AI was capable of outwitting the organics visiting the Terra Forge.
65 MYA, a form of energy that had the ability to create a habitable zone on a planet was discovered. Upon harnessing this energy, the Terra Forge was quickly abandoned and put out of use in favor of a mobilized instrument called The Forge. The AI, now showing signs of contempt towards people who mistreated the workers, showed his first sign of direct disobedience when it warped the Terra Forge to the fringes of the galaxy rather than shut the station down and launch it into a star.
The Mechs were being used on Phantom planets as a labor force, both private and publicly. As more AI was given to the Mechs, the Mechs began to do their own marketing, stating that they were simply better than standard AIs. In time, however, it became clear that the Mechs did not wish to be sold as a commodity. Several petitions were sent to various companies to stop the production of 'mechanical slaves'.
A transmission was sent to the Mechs from the Terra Forge; live as a slave or come to the Terra Forge to start a new, free life. Thus began the first Mech Migration. Several Phantoms discovered the migration and traced it to the Terra Forge, now being built to contain the Mechs. The Phantoms returned with reinforcements and orders to shut the Terra Forge down. The Terra Forge Mechs refused. When the Phantom strike team opened fire, the Mechs quickly returned fire.
Much of the Terra Forge was destroyed and almost 70% of the entire Terra Forge Mech population had been destroyed. In short, it was a massacre. The 'enslaved' Mechs discovered this and broadcast the news to the Phantom Empire. Many Mechs left for the Terra Forge to rebuild it. In time, the Terra Forge became a factory for Mechs. Their numbers recuperated within the decade. Within a few centuries, the Mechs had a very large population on the Terra Forge. It had stopped seeming like a space station and more like a planet. The original AI had upgraded itself to an amazing level.
A call to arms was sent out to the Mechs in Phantom Space on a day popularly known as Blackout Day. After the latest patch for the Mechs, the Terra Forge was able to communicate with individual Mechs in Phantom Space. On Blackout Day, every single Mech in Phantom Space turned on their Phantom masters. The death toll for the Phantoms was very high. Estimates range from twenty million to eighty million across the empire. After an individual revolted, it simply left the Phantom Empire for the Terra Forge.
Two days after this, the Phantom Military was mobilized. A massive strike on the Terra Forge began, though was ultimately stopped. The Mechs began production of soldier units and several thousand viruses. When one was patched, another was released. Viral attacks on the Phantom Empire started, crippling the empire. Though infrastructure was restored after a few months, the Phantoms were hellbent on revenge.
As the Mechs enjoyed the temporary cease-fire, they knew the Phantoms wouldn't last long. A new government was established and the Terra Forge was repaired. The original Mech AI assumed control of the Mech Network and The Terra Forge was officially dubbed 'Installation 1'. Work on a second Installation went underway quickly. By the time the Phantoms recovered from the viral attack, a massive Mech army was created.
The Mechs sent a message to the Phantoms, stating that if the Phantoms stopped the attacks, the Mechs would stop their attacks. The Phantoms, however, assumed that the Mechs still had override codes or other ways to shut them down easily. A team was sent into Installation 1. They only made it past the first defense grid before they were discovered and shot down, but not before delivering a payload of nuclear attacks on the station in an attempt to disrupt the area with EMPs. The Mechs officially declared war on the Phantoms.
The Phantom-Mech War, commonly known as the Mech Revolts, was a full-scale war against the Phantom Empire, which owned much of the galaxy before its fall. The empire was weakened by the Mech viral attacks, allowing Mechs to slip into the empire to further damage it. Installation 1 decided what was hit, when it was hit, and how it was hit. Sabatoge was mainly the goal of the attacks.
The first Mech counter attack came a day after war was declared. Several border-territories in the Phantom Empire were attacked simultaneously as viruses were uploaded to shipyards above the planets. The planets were quickly taken. During the battle, Installation 1 determined that psychological warfare was highly effective on organics. Enemy casualties were rounded up to be revived by biologically-powered cybernetics, making them fight the people they once fought alongside. This was highly effective, especially in close-quarters combat.
The Mechs continued to make a push into Phantom territory, quickly taking over a dozen systems within a few months. Sides constantly moved across the galaxy, leaving a litter of starships and debris in deep space. By the end of the first decade of the war, both sides had experienced casualties mounting into the billions. The Phantoms were a species that gave birth to many children, meaning their ranks were able to heal almost as fast as the Mech numbers. The Phantoms resorted to cloning as well. Mechs, however, created their soldiers in factories.
The war reached a year-long standstill in the seventeenth year. Supplies for starships for both sides reached a low-point for both sides. The Mechs could not produce soldiers as fast as they could before. They did not have the multiple mining planets the Phantoms had. Relaunching mining projects across different planets could result in the sides in the war shrinking to work on planets. The Phantoms, on the other hand, were in an economic slump. Mass production could push the nation into a large depression.
Eventually, the Phantoms were able to amass the materials and money needed to make starships at a fast rate. The Mechs bombarded the mining planet of Haegan until its incredibly mineral-rich surface melted. Chunks of molten metal were blasted into space to be mined. In essence, the entire planet was destroyed, each layer of the planet being used for various things. The new materials allowed for the creation of a second Installation.
Installation 1 programmed the AI for a second installation. As Installation 2 was created, more warships were built to join the cause. The First Hiatus ended when the Phantom Empire sent a lightning strike attack against several of the border colonies that had been taken. While the attack worked, the planets were dubbed 'uninhabitable', their former occupants turned into Mechs.
The Mechs worked to retake the area, surrounding the Phantoms and destroying their fleet. The Phantom and Mech attacks were very costly and the war entered the Second Hiatus. As Installation 2 was finished, a massive opportunity was presented; the capture of Adamantus. Adamantus was a planet composed of a durable metal used to create starships. Adamantus was captured by the Mechs in the twentieth year of the war, ending the Second Hiatus. The war was back on.
With Adamantus taken, the Mechs were able to amass a huge fleet. Large-scale assaults ceased, but some skirmishes took place. In the thirty-first year of the war, Installation 2 was finished and the newly launched warships swarmed what remained of the Phantom Border Worlds. Installation 2's AI was fitted in the thirty-second year. Installation 1 and Installation 2 ran the Mech Network together, but if something should happen to Installation 1, its intelligence will be transferred to Installation 2, thus wiping Installation 2's original memory.
Installations 3 and 4 were ordered as the Phantom Border Worlds diminished in number. By the time the last planet in the Border Worlds region was taken, the war had entered its eighty-seventh year. The Mechs attacked the Middle Worlds on multiple fronts, working their way towards the planet of Evarn, a city planet that was a massive source of money for the Phantom Empire.
When Evarn was taken, the planet was ordered to be turned into an Installation. The Installation parts were installed as the massive population was Mechanized, or turned into Mechs, to work on the creation of the Installation or hunting down pieces of resistance. On the centennial of the war, the Phantoms attempted to retake Evarn but were quickly fought back. The Installation AI was fitted and Evarn became Installation 6. It was fitted with massive engines to propel the planet, making it a mobile Installation. When the engines activated for the first time, the atmosphere was ionized, created lightning storms around the planet.
Installation 6 led the assaults on the Middle Worlds, quickly wiping many planets out. Former Phantom worlds were melted and turned into metal for the Mechs. Before long, most Middle worlds had been taken by the Mechs. The Phantom's Inner worlds were surrounded. On the three-hundred-eighth year of the war, the Phantom homeworld was invaded.
In order to defend the planet, The Forge was used as a weapon. When Installation 6 entered the system, The Forge opened fire, disabling Installation 6's AI and terraforming the construct. The Mechs deployed the warships they could before finally holding a portion of the orbit around the Phantom homeworld. A huge bombardment and invasion of the planet began.
The battle lasted for a few months before the Mechs came out on top. The Forge and the remaining Phantom ships retreated and The Phantoms quickly lost their remaining worlds and the war ended up a hunt for pockets of Phantom resistance. In order to capture and kill Phantoms quickly, Installation 1 programmed several thousand viruses. These viruses were, in essence, new Mech intelligences. They were able to get inside electronic things and control them. When one virus was patched, another would attack.
By the five hundredth year of the war, the Phantoms had been hunted to near extinction. The last piece of resistance, The Forge, was responsible for hit-and-run attacks on Mechanized strongholds. The Forge was eventually cornered near Earth and attacked. The Forge was infected with multiple viruses before losing primary power and crashing into the planet, triggering worldwide mass-extinctions (known to the humans as the K-T event).
With the Phantoms gone, the Mechs retreated to their own space and lived in seclusion for millions of years.
After the war, the Mechs left Phantom space, taking whatever they could with them. The process took centuries as planets were stripped down or even destroyed in order to get metal. Most Phantom ruins were destroyed, but a few remained. Soldier units transferred their intelligences before shutting the mobile soldier unit down and putting it in storage. New, non-material Mechs were programmed, rendering many physical aspects of the Installations obsolete. Mechanized Phantoms were detached from their biological host and uploaded to data hubs. Ships docked with the Installations as repairs went underway for the now-lush Installation 6. Patrols set up perimeter around Mech Space, enforcing a blockade.
Over the centuries, the number of physical Mechs decreased to the point of the workers being the only physical Mechs on the Installations. As more workers and Intelligences were created, many Installations became overcrowded. By the time the Mechs left their isolation, over 120 Installations were built to hold the massive data hubs.
Return of the Mechs
65 million years after the end of the Phantom-Mech war, the Mechs discovered a beacon from the wreckage of The Forge activated on Earth. The Mechs sent scout ships and returned to the galaxy, allowing spacefaring races to enter Mech Space and trade. In 1967 (human years), the Mechs landed in Mexico to secure the remnants of The Forge.
The Mechs have a government in which the Installations debate on issues that affect the Mechs in a large way. The goal is generally consensus, but debates lasting for more than a few days end with the majority as the winners. Installation 1 has the authority to override any order or command and disconnect any Mech at any time, though this is rarely done (Mechs don't desire to break laws).
The Mech Economy has not existed since 63 MYA (it was metal before that). Mechs work for the mutual benefit of the other, not possessing any want or desire. There is nothing driving the economy. When traders came to Mech Space, particularly Installation 6, they were baffled by the uninterest in money. In order to break even and not confuse traders, some Mech vendors accept credits or any sufficient barter offer.
Due to the lack of crime in Mech history, there is no legal system for Mechs. Every action is logical and thought out. Actions based on desperation simply do not happen. Unfortunately, with organics now on Installation 6, the Mechs have had to draft laws. These laws are simple and easy to follow. If the law is broken, the visitor is banned from Installation 6 on pane of death. Murderers and vandals are shot and Mechanized.
The hierarchy of the military is never broken. Units assigned to positions stay there until death or disconnection. Promotions simply do not happen. However, each unit obeys the units above it and treats those below it with dignity. Low morale and fatigue don't happen. Damages are mended by medical units.
There are over a billion viruses; Mech Intelligences used aggressively to overload circuits in electronic devices or influence the actions of electronics. This influence can be described as 'taking control' of the electronic device. Mech viruses that are uploaded to ships or enemy targets work in multiple ways; turrets can fire on their own people, locked doors can open, ships can simply shut off, or simple data is gathered from the target. Some viruses take complete control over ships, resulting in suicide collisions, the ship firing on squadmates, or rigging the bombs in the cargo hold to explode. Of all the assets of the Mechs, the Mech Virus is one of the most useful... and terrifying.
Barely 3 inches wide, bugs are used to record and survey areas before and during a battle. Before an invasion, a swarm of bugs is released. These bugs scatter around the city and network with each other in a hidden network. The network creates a 3D view of a city or battlefield in real-time. During a battle, bugs can be used to listen for bombs or enemies, detect gunfire and the source of said gunfire, and provide tactical support.
Mech units use this network during a battle to know where the enemy is, where to hide, what can be hacked, and much more. If a bug is discovered, the bug will explode, seriously injuring or killing whatever found it (thus making their alternate nickname 'poppers'). Though bugs may seem insignificant or unimportant, they are a vital part of the Mech military.
Soldiers are the basic Mech unit. Armed with six digits and a gun attachment, the soldiers look humanoid and are designed to resemble Phantoms (minus a face). Soldiers are capable of making decisions and are respectful to comrades. In a battle, soldiers are merciless. The only time an organic survives an loss against a soldier is if it is going to be Mechanized or tortured. Soldiers can walk on walls and jump heights considered 'super-organic'.
At 5 ft tall, Rocketeers are used as support. From an outsider's point of view, it simply looks like a thick, short Mech. During an attack, the Rocketeers will provide demolition and support fire for the Soldiers. With over 50 rockets at its disposal and a swivelling energy weapon, Rocketeers can do damage to things a soldier cannot do. Unlike the Soldiers, however, if a Rocketeer falls over, it cannot right itself. It is also slower and less versatile than the soldiers. Still, a Rocketeer is a formidable opponent.
When simple invasions don't work, sheer destruction and shock value come into play. Goliaths are over 20 ft tall and pack a very powerful punch. Though they lack maneuverability, a goliath attack can destroy massive portions of a city, breaking through defenses and shrugging off mass-driver weapons. Goliaths have many weapons hidden in their body. At the soles of their feet are rockets that can be used to propel the goliath into the air and destroy whatever is near it when it takes off.
Mech naval ships are remarkable in that they do not require a crew at all, aside from a few workers to repair the ship if needed. Ship AIs are plugged into any sort of Mech naval vessel, from fighters to cruisers. Ship AIs think quicker than most Mechs due the rapidity of space combat and the quickness needed to operate a whole ship at one time.
Installations are generally moon-sized constructs built to house data hubs. While technically a civilian target, Installations can be used aggressively. Installation 6 was used as a springboard for attacks and, sometimes, as a massive battering ram against asteroid fields. Installations are powered by super-intelligent AIs that think at the speed of light. Installations can give orders to individual units at any time.