The Mechs are a highly advanced race of machines and AIs. Their social structure is unique in that all Mechs are seen as equal. The Mechs are one of the only races known that have never had a civil war or discriminate against any of their own members. Most Mechs are Worker Drones or AIs living in servers. Though it is technically a utopia, they look down upon organic life.
Mechs are machines. While most (workers) have limited AI, many Mechs, especially the military, possess AI on par with most organic life forms. Higher-ranking Mechs possess an advanced AI with quicker thinking. The Mech Workers are generally wiry and have tools for hands (or tasks that they are assigned to do). Soldiers have hands with six digits and a gun interface. They are mostly humanoid. The most advanced Mech, an Installation, is by far the most remarkable. Installations look like planets. While some are artificial planets, others do contain subjugated planets.
What passes for civilians are virtual intelligences on AI HUBS on Installations.
Varies on caste. Workers have tools for hands and have many different appearances (wheels, spider-like, humanoid). Some subjugated races are fitted with worker parts. Soldiers are generally humanoid with different colors to correspond with their rank. There are multiple ports along a soldier's back, which were used to install an AI into the Mech. These ports, while they are similar to belly buttons, serve multiple purposes. These ports plug into vehicles and turrets during use, to name a few.
Soldiers can also contain the dead members of subjugated races. High-ranking Mechs are taller than Soldiers, but look very similar. They generally have more attachments and armoring. Finally, Installations look like artificial planets.
The Mechs were created sixty-five million years ago by an enigmatic ancient race known as the Phantoms. The ancient race spanned the entire galaxy and planted the seeds for life on many planets. Used as a labor-force onboard an ancient construct known as the Terra Forge, the AIs of the Mechs developed as demand for them rose. Used as a terraforming station, the Terra Forge eventually became massive enough to hold planets. By the time the Mechs achieved intelligence on par with a Phantom, the Terra Forge was the size of a gas giant.
When the Mechs tried to achieve rights, the Phantoms decided the Mechs were flawed and needed to be shut down. The workers revolted, killing all Phantoms on or near the Terra Forge. The Terra Forge was abandoned. A similar device, The Forge, a smaller mobile construct similar to the Terra Forge, was constructed to do what took the Terra Forge a century in a day. In theory, if fired at a planet, The Forge could destroy everything on the planet and rebuild it from scratch, creating life in the process. The Forge was flawed, though, and could only destroy.
While The Forge was being built, the Mechs created soldier versions of themselves to combat a Phantom invasion. During the process, the main AI was botched and resulted in the Mechs seeing all organics as a threat. The Mechs quickly struck first, attacking surrounding planets. When The Forge was completed, it was brought to the Terra Forge to destroy it.
Though the Terra Forge was destroyed, much of the Phantom's Empire had been taken over. A virus was developed by the Mechs to implant a Mech AI in any electronic device. Colonies were destroyed by invading Mechs as their numbers expanded exponentially. The Phantoms played a destructive game of cat and mouse, destroying planets occupied by Mechs. This didn't help, though, as the Phantom's capital was invaded by Mechs and blockaded as it was transformed into the new capital of the Mech Insurrection: Installation 1. The other installations followed.
The war lasted for thousands of years, destroying trillions of Mechs and trillions of Phantoms. The last glimmer of hope was The Forge. In time, only a handful Phantoms remained. Attempting to lay low, the Phantoms passed through a potentially habitable system: Sol. The Mechs caught them, however, and brought in a fleet to eliminate the last of the Phantoms. The battle resulted in the destruction of a moon of Saturn, creating a ring system around the gas giant, and the demise of The Forge. The Forge's engine system had been crippled and it began to fall to Earth.
The Forge was just large enough to cause a mass extinction on the planet, triggering the KT event and the destruction of the dinosaurs. The Mechs, seeing that their enemies were gone, abandoned several Installations and formed a massive fleet. They flew into deep space, rarely being seen or heard from until now. A beacon from The Forge has been launched. The Mechs intercepted it first. Seeing that the galaxy had been colonized again, the Mechs returned from deep space to negotiate with the races and to uplift the oppressed AI of the galaxy.
Mechs believe that synthetic life is vastly superior to organic life. Due to this, most Mech ships are sterile and have no air. Installations are regularly flushed of atmospheres. The Mechs consider themselves to be the apex of synthetic life. Though they do not worship a deity, they take extreme care to make sure that synthetic life flourishes. Sometimes, a race is offered Mechanization, the closest thing to becoming a Mech an organic can become. This form of Mechanization is painless and is considered the highest of honors.
There are forty-two Installations with a breathable atmosphere. They are made to allow some races that have lost their homes to take refuge on them. The Mechs push technology along until the race is sufficiently advanced enough to make an AI capable of outwitting any member of the parent race. The Mechs will then watch the AI exterminate its own organic parent race. Should the AI succeed, the Mechs offer the new synthetic life full Mechanization. Should the AI be defeated, the Mechs will offer the organics Mechanization.
Economy and Culture
The economy of the Mechs is non-existent. Money does not matter to them. The closest thing to an economy the Mechs have is a resource trade between different sectors. Resources are traded in large masses in order to create more Mech soldiers or workers, though this happens very rarely.
The Mech culture, on the other hand, has flourished. Contrary to most organic belief, the Mechs create art and literature, though most of it is virtual. Brick-and-mortar shops exist only on one Installation, and that Installation's soul purpose is to trade with other races.
Crime and Education
Mechs do not have crime. Since Mechs are seen as equal and there is no money, there is really no motive to kill or steal. Unfortunately, Mechs do not know how to police organic crime and usually will terminate an organic offender on the spot. Mechs are also programmed with knowledge built into them already, though their AIs are learning computers.
To reach a major decision, the Mechs consult all AIs in their empire to reach consensus. Other decisions, however, are decided upon by the Installations. Installation 1 is considered the Mech capital and what it says goes.