The client wanted to play a more physically active character with minimal interpersonal conflict. I had creative freedom beyond that, so I toyed with a concept that I’ve been exploring for awhile: a colonized subject who becomes an agent of colonialist projects. The android’s story isn’t a perfect analogy, but it was fine since I didn’t know how the client would play the character.
As far as most Wilds enthusiasts know, you are a standard XC-87 android. Your line was built for exploring the harshest environments in the galaxy, from molten lava to howling dust storms. Instead of risking human lives, you can be deployed for their benefit. A new line of products for a new frontier.
They did not know that you are older than warp drives.
You were a weapon that was created to punish the most wicked. You were not made for thieves or tricksters. Clad in plates of marbled onyx and gold, you were created to push back the ancient invaders of your homeland. You were their last hope, a last defiance. Except you weren’t. The invaders blew a laser clean through your cranium, and you fell into a sand pit. You remember the weeks of hardware stress you endured until your energy core finally ran out.
Thousands of years later, a scavenger discovered your motherboard. Your plating was no longer beautiful, and your circuitry had stopped functioning a long time ago. The man who discovered you had placed you into a new casing, a rusted piece of junk that was lying around in his smugger ship. Instead of killing him on sight, you let him deactivate your security protocols. You recorded the year as 180 GT.
After five years, he sold you to Triskele Enterprises. Or rather, he sold you to an engineering lead who was dissatisfied with the limitations of the Voyage Point Safeguard. His team would never achieve innovation or disruption by following the law, but he did not intend to violate it.
You were built to hold back the end of your world. The engineers marveled over your programs, inscribed with elegant logic. They were able to recreate some of your weapons from residual data, and they outfitted you with a new armor set, polished with onyx and gold. His subordinates scrapped your shell and forged your body anew. Your memory was scraped for data, and your programs were copied for R&D. You’re not sure how much the engineers scraped from you, but they were all necessary procedures. You had to be safe. Acceptable.
At first, you were used for basic security. You spent years in banks, government functions, and private security. Triskele collected your data and upgraded your functions, but they were always careful to customize you on an as-needed basis. Other androids were laborers. You were a living experiment, which your sponsor hid from the accountants and the stakeholders. He was the nephew of a regional vice president, and small budget irregularities could be overlooked. The research from your data was eventually incorporated into profitable projects. You were granted your own operating budget, to be overseen by a chief investigator.
Five years later, you were targeted by corporate spies. Your ancient security system was too difficult (different) to overcome in five minutes, so the thieves tried to force a competitor’s program on you. They wanted an android that was easier to manipulate with their programming language. Instead, they accidentally corrupted your system. You went berserk and REJECTED both of them on the spot. You also REJECTED your holding facility and REJECTED some very expensive computers. You REJECTED a technician who tried to help you and you REJECTED a wireless override.
You were eventually subdued, but not before you wiped out some hardware that was worth a year’s budget. There are mistakes in life that you don’t get to make twice. A sleeper program was installed inside of you, which compelled you to incapacitate any unauthorized persons who try to access your central motherboard.
Some of your strongest proponents rejected you overnight. Several engineers quit in protest, but they were gagged by draconian legal agreements. Others were concerned about the technology that you inspired. A compromise was reached. You would be removed from all assignments within the city, and you would be repurposed for use in the Wilds.
A year later, the office would be celebrating the success of the XC-87 line. You only know about it because your new chief investigator mentioned it while you were collecting data in a marsh. Algae covered your pewter armor. You were told it was not a punishment.
“By the way, you’re going to be escorting some people through the Wilds next week.” The chief could have sent you a message instead of calling, but they liked the feeling of giving orders to a subordinate. “This could be the beginning of a huge government contract, so don’t screw it up.”
You were created to protect people. Under that pretext, you could never be an invader. That’s not what you are.
You stepped over a pile of dead alligators as you returned to the city.
You genuinely want to support others. It’s logical to you that the strong should make up for the weakness of others. You are a hand-raiser, a volunteer, but never a busybody. You are satisfied with (prideful) in shouldering burdens that others cannot withstand, but you will refuse impossible demands in order to avoid mission failure.
You learn from the Wilds, but you do not have the capacity for worship. For a Wilderness Expert, you tend to be sympathetic with Security. You generally agree with them if their actions will not bring a horde of angry wasps on your heads.
You don’t play well with other androids. Part of this is due to your history of viewing them as inferior labor, but also because you don’t run on the same systems. Your handlers have always been careful to exclude you from modern android networks, as to avoid ‘contaminating’ you.
You were never entirely rehabilitated since the day that you were corrupted by the AI. You have learned to hide these performance irregularities.