Oraki - A New Look at Robots
Bursting with an incredible, terrible complexity, the Oraki are a powerful breed of mechanoids, once that blurs the line between machine and man from the other direction.
The Oraki may span the full range of human sizes and more, ranging from between 1.5m to 3m in height, though they typically retain a human-like body shape and proportion. Skin tone, hair color, and eye color may range the full spectrum of the rainbow. Male-analogues are typically larger than females, and commonly are darker in color, with true black, sapphire blue, brown, ash grey, and burgundy being common for both skin and hair, while females are often paler in color, favoring pastel shades of blue, pink, white, yellow, and green. There is, however, no set rule.
Being primarily made of complex metallioids rather than the CHON chemistry of carbon based life forms, an Oraki will usually tip the scales at six to ten times the weight of an equivalently sized organic humanoid. It is not uncommon for larger males to mass over a ton and a half.
Being mechanical in origin, the Oraki are often stronger and far more durable than organics, able to sustain and slowly regenerate even the most terrible wounds, so long as their central core is undamaged. This requries the presence of sufficient ‘nutrients’, which can be ingested like a human’s food, or, in the case of the most severe wounds, the Oraki can be thrown into a nutrient tank, where he can wait out the injury. As a rule of thumb, it will take about three weeks to regenerate a limb or other major subsystem. This regeneration is essentially the only healing available to Oraki, however, for they are entirely foreign to all but the most specialized of doctors, and magic, should it exist, is tuned to the needs of men. They are exceptionally sensitive to EMP and electrical weapons, and particularly paranoid humans have created several strains of nanite ‘bio-weapons’ which can be used against them.
The same mechanical origins means that they require a different sort of food, typically sold as a semi-flavored ‘paste’ of various metal oxides and required hydrocarbons. It is poisonous to a human, but without it, the Oraki will eventually wear down and stop. Likewise, human food holds no nutritional value, and while it can be consumed, and even enjoyed, the Oraki must still eat their special food.
The primary energy source for the Oraki is a miniature fusion reactor within their core unit. One function of the paste food is to fuel this reactor with hydrogen, and to replace the lithium energy collection material, which is slowly converted to useless beryllium.
Oraki are capable of sexual reproduction, though they require a certain level of external assistance to complete the reproductive cycle. During a merging not entirely unlike sex between two organic beings, generative data is exchanged between the male-analogue and female-analogue. This data is combined semi-randomly, resulting the template for a new and unique individual. During gestation, the female’s body is able to create the core to this new template, but it is unable to start the reactor that will bring (independant) life to the child. This core consists of the mini-reactor that will provide energy to the nanomachines that make up the body’s cellular structure, as well as core processing and memory banks. The core is then laid, much like a round, brilliantly colored egg, where it placed in an Oraki Gestation Chamber. This chamber, and the devices hooked to it, are specifically designed to jump start the reactor, and to provide the nutrients the core-unit needs to finish the building of the finished body. The female body requires about two and a half months to generate the core, after which the core must spend almost an entire earthling year inside its Gestation Chamber. The newborn Oraki emerges roughly the size of human in their early teenage years, and requires approximately ten to fifteen further years to reach his or her adult size, during which he must be raised the same as any organic child.
While it is not yet confirmed, the average Oraki is projected to have a functional life span of approximately 1-1.5 thousand years before degradation of the core causes them to begin to malfunction.
Adult Oraki generally prefer the technical and warlike fields, though, peculiarly, many Oraki females can be found in the organic medicine fields, where their immunity to biological diseases gives them a certain advantage. Some few enhancement systems for the Oraki have begun to be developed by ‘their’ scientists, allowing for the occasional interesting trick, but the majority of the Oraki have no special abilities beyond their origin… so far.
Despite their regenerative abilities and great longitivity, the Oraki are neither immortal, nor unkillable. While massive damage to the core will destroy them, EMP and electrical effects can do permanent damage to their minds and bodies in subtle and curious ways. Should they survive the short term effects of these, there is little prediction of future events - a disease not entirely unlike cancer may crop up if portions of their nanites are damaged in the correct way.
The Oraki have no truly independent society as of yet - There are a scant few thousand individuals with only a few centuries of history. However, they have begun to make the first steps towards the beginnings of such - A scant few holidays, a tradition of naming, a home of sorts.
Half through stealth, half through bold faced courage, the Oraki have staked a claim to a world not far from the home of humanity, one they have named simply ‘Sanctuary’. It is a a cold and dead world, made nearly entirely of the heavy metals the Oraki require for life, the white dwarf star having long since scorched away the world’s mantle when it swelled to a red giant aeons ago. Here, burrowed beneath the surface, the splinters of humanity bold enough to advocate genocide against them are not strong enough to root them out, and as an (strongly opposed) applicant for membership in the United Worlds, the powers that can destroy them must hold their hand, for the time being.
A portion of the young Oraki born on Sanctuary are sent out into the galaxy, as workers and diplomats - They must acclimate humanity to their existance, and the best way to do this is to coexist. Meanwhile, on Sanctuary, construction of the world and expansion of the race continues.
Each of these newborn children that is born undergoes a brief ritual, the ‘Blooding of Orak’, in which they are annointed in a crimson fluid, though not real blood, in rememberance of the birth of their race. Once per decade, too, is that day of their birth commemorated, as all pause in what they are doing for a brief moment, simultaneously, a unitary moment of silence.
Until he is able to choose his own name, the Oraki are referred to simply as the ‘son/daughter of (mother) and (father). It is usually around one to two years that the newborn is sufficiently facile with language and understanding to choose his name. These are generally descriptive of the personality that the Oraki thinks he desires to live up to, with men often choosing names related to the sky, avians, or musical inclinations, while female names are often earthy, feline, or poetic. This name is then formally appended with a six digit time stamp, denoting the
six digit Sanctuary Local Year(roughly 4.5 Terran years) and Deci-year of his birth. For example, Hawk-0074.4 once desired to be of great observational ability, and was born 74.4 Sanctuary years after the founding of Sanctuary, while Grana-0145.0 considers herself a strong and stable personality. They are called ‘Hawk’ and ‘Grana’ by people they meet, as the date is only used for databank differentiation.
They called him mad. Mad. But he would show them. He would make a machine into a man. So went the work of Rudolph Orak, master nanitist. If colonies of nanomachines could work together like simple cellular colonies, why not emulate the most complex machine of them all? And so he began to pour the family fortunes into his experiments, each new breakthrough funding the next, and the next, and so on. His assistants were hand picked, well-screened. His bank trails were difficult, exceedingly complex. He would succeed, Neo-Luddites be damned. But the weft of the project was too much for him, and he would never see success. But as he expired, his grandson would be there to take up the project. And so it continued, generation of genius raised to the task for four entire centuries, occasionally skipping from one to the next, and dancing in hiding from world to world. Twice they were caught, the descendants of Orak, men and women slain, equipment destroyed, but always there was a backup plan.
And finally, it was done. A few short weeks after the first few of the new beings awoke, and looked upon each other, the door to the complex caved in beneath the blows of those who decried the intrusion upon God’s territory. Theirs would be a baptism of blood, but they had arrived, and now, these children, these Oraki, they would need to find their way through the universe.
The First Generation:
This submission is inspired by, and possibly derivative of, the Sega Genesis game Phantasy Star III, and it’s companion material.
NPCs • Minor • Criminal/Espionage
Nenni-0036.2 is a slight, even tiny Oraki, who has taken for herself the mantle of the cat who walks alone.
NPCs • Major • Combative
The Commander of Confederation Special Operations Unit 13, the Star Falcons, Peregrine-0004.7 is an extravagant, yet highly effecient soldier. Time and time again, he has lead the Oraki black-ops teams to success, keening his unnerving war-cry.
NPCs • Mythic/ Historical • Political
The Eldest of the Oraki, and for long their leader, Lifthrasir-1 has helped his children survive the throes of their birth, and has at last stepped aside, so that his waning years do not bring harm to his people.
NPCs • Mythic/ Historical • Political
One of the first prototypes of the Oraki, the red-headed Lilith remains one of the leaders of their race to this day.
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? Responses (11)
Pretty cool, actually. Good to see some original, solid ideas.
A good solid take on a new race. Strikes me more as a replicant then a robot.
An interesting take on a synthetic species. It is all more nanite magic, but still an interesting set. However, technology that complex is akin to magic... making life, of sorts, possible.
I do dislike the longevity issue, but I guess with enough parts anything is possible.
I do not like that they have yet to make their own sub-culture yet. Every group of intelligences has their own clique rules. If their numbers are small, they might have their own sub rules.
Naming for example. They will know each person's name. However there might be two names one they use and the designation the humans use.
They might have special celebrations for birthings (or the various stages of birthing).
Since deactivation would be nearly voluntary, there might be a wake like party or final roast/ tribute get together when it happens.
They might also have some 'radiation' or environmental restrictions, anything that would interfere with their nanite network or the reactor.
Their longevity isn't unreasonable, given that humans at a comparable level of technical expertise could also enjoy greatly lengthened lifespans.
Updated: Some of Moonhunter's concerns have been addressed.
Longetivity exists in them for a reason: There are biological and evolutionary advantages for the species if older members of the species grow old and die - Once it has reproduced, and performed any needed child rearing, it has succeeded, so long as biology is concerned. However, a complex organism will, throughout its life, accumulate parasites, spot mutations, diseases, injuries, and so on. As time passes, they will become less effective at whatever it is the life-form does. Therefore, after the creature passes a certain threshold, it is better for the species if it ceases to compete with its own progeny for available resources. In the Oraki, many of these pressures simply do not exist. So long as the core's 'stem cell' nanites maintain uncorrupted primary code information, the body can correct itself. Copy-error of this data, which may is the primary source of degradation. The body will continue until the self-reparation mechanism fails. I've arbitrarily assigned about a millenium and a half, partly due to the presence of machines in this age range in the inspirational material.
Since the oraki are not restricted by a biological heritage, data rot wouldn't necessarily occur: You could do error correction across cells, which biologicals can't do with DNA. Somewhat like a RAID 1 across all cells.
Although in practise, it would be more like comparing a checksum or crypto hash. (The right function should get collisions down to once in the lifetime of the universe range, and special algorithm can be stronger against closely related data: for example changes due to mutations rather than completely different data (such as different orakis.)
Cells would check another's checksum before interacting, and would refuse to interact if they don't match. This way, two cells have to agree on their respective instructions before they cooperate, immediately isolating cellular difference.
In effect, the correct instructions would also act as a key.
Only by knocking this process out in several cells at the same time could a tumour cluster develop.
(I wonder if this is possible to do biologically with actual DNA?)
Parasitic nanites and cancer might occur (due to external factors). But the body would probably have specialised cells that only compare checksum and devour invalid cells. (obviously, they could check each other also.) The cells that dish out the 'nutrient' could also do this before distribution, immediately starving cancer cells and tumours. So I would have imagined the lifetime to be indefinite.
Of course, Siren, as creator you have god like power to give them whatever lifespan you want. I'm just surprised that they aren't technically immortal, is all.
well, I know better than to get into a scientific debate with Nano-Master no Orakio, so I will just say, I love this! I do, really!
The reason is, I simply cant make stuff like this up myself, so I tend to appreciate it more than your average sci-fi fanatic.
My favorite part? The paste!! priceless. And the Orak fellow himself...very Marvel-ish to me! :)
My best bud and lead PC, often makes fun of my non-sci-fi predilection. Now, I can introduce these bad boys in our next session and watch him squirm!
I like the Oraki, and I like the backstory, which is detailed further in your other Oraki posts. Excellent scifi people with a rich background. 4.5/5
Two quick questions: can Oraki change their skin/hair coloring at will? You make it sound like they can when you said that the females "favor" pastels, but didn't explicitly mention it elsewhere. Second, I understand that they are supposedly a merging of man and machine, as envisioned by Dr. Orak & heirs. How exactly did the spark of consciousness pass to them? Were there human "test subjects" involved in their creation?
Wins my patented (R) Smashing-Sub-of-theDay Award. Have an HoH.
Coloration is genetically inherited - favoring was simply a particular wording choice.
Also, there isn't really a 'merging' of man and machine - It is a reverse engineering of the concept of multicellular life writ large, combined with skillfully wrought artificial intelligence. They are intelligent, in short, because they simply have a physical brain carrying the structures that are required to have them. They caught a leg up on evolution via engineering, but now that they are established, it is an open question what they will be in ten thousand generations.