The Song of Amergin
In the days before the Eschaton, the forces of Northern Europe lobbied hard to replace their human soldiers with powerful yet replaceable beings whose death or ruin would not result in needless loss of life. The same advancements in AI, which had already been applied to semi-autonomous military vehicles, were to be used in the creation of a new combat force. These new combat drones were called AMSUMOs. They were capable of operating independently of any remote control and shared a centralized intelligence, which allowed them to operate as a distinct organism. The machine men were immediately thrown in to the conflict that had been escalating in Africa, and they were later adapted to perform police functions in the strategic German city of Koblenz. Then everything went wrong. As the Stream collapsed under the 216 phenomenon, digital madness crept into the control systems of the AMSUMOs, eating through their memory banks, destroying their programming, and manifesting as new command instructions. At first, the effects were almost impossible to detect, as the most serious errors were compensated for by built-in safety algorithms. Soon, however, the AMSUMOs began to display a peculiar behavior: They wrapped their blue painted bodies in clothing and old rags, ignoring any remote control and instructions. Despite this, they continued to perform their tasks. In Koblenz, they arrested hoodlums; in Africa, they protected the UEO strongholds. Th e shift was subtle, but effective. Soon the AMSUMOs no longer differentiated between friend and foe. Th ey plucked weapons from the human police and then stuff ed them into the same overcrowded cells as the criminals. Soldiers who had performed maintenance one day were massacred on the steps of their offi ce as they attempted to report for duty the next. The AMSUMOs deteriorated even further: Many painted over the identification number on their foreheads and replaced it with 216. Others ran amok, deserting their posts. Some even deactivated themselves. Centuries later, they are called the machine men. Th ey are the terror of every Scrapper, and in campfire horror stories they take the lead role.