Stears-Cusick of England

Stears-Cusick of England is a well known and highly respected robot manufacturer. Based out of Uxbridge Industrial Arcologies, SC has a long history of producing reliable and often internationally copied mechanoids. Unlike other robot manufacturers, Stears-Cusick doesn't produce any gynoids, sexbots, or human simulacra androids. Instead they are known for their production of mechanoids, robots that look like robots or are designed for functionality first and appearance second.

The Stears-Cusick Mechanoid

Stears-Cusick has unofficially given it's name to a specific type of mechanoid. Technically called a Utility Pod droid, the more commonly named Stears-Cusick or SC-Droid, consists of a barrel shaped body topped with a sensor dome, and a set of legs that end with wheels instead of feet. The main purpose of Utility Pod Droids are to function as part of a larger structure or facility diagnostic and repair system. The droids would spend most of their active time during night time hours when they would make rounds, inspecting machinery, computer terminals and outlets around locations like arcologies, industrial facilities, large ships, factories, and space stations. Utilipod mechanoids are serve as mobile inspectors and relay stations for CogNet operations, and these more publically seen droids are associated with police operations (black pods) news reporting (camera pods) and sporting and social events.

The Stears-Cusick Cyborg

Considered one of the lowest forms of cybernetic organism, the SC Cyborg is an Organic memory core connected to and controlling the droid body. The Cyborg differs from the standard issue mechanoid in that it has a fully or partially organic brain controlling the body instead of a computer cortex. The most common use for the Cyborg is functioning as a CogNet relay, being functionally an organic memory core with full remote access to the local network.

Remote Node - The Remote Node is a somewhat larger than usual utilipod droid, as it mounts both an organic memory core to support CogNet use, but a primary organic brain to control the core and direct its operation. The Remote Node is typically owned and operated by megacorps, cybersecurity companies, and governments to maintain the integrity of their CogNet Ops. These Remote Nodes are Cybernauts and live much more fully in the CogNet than in their physical shells. The majority of Remote Nodes are volunteers, as they have suffered major physical or emotional trauma and find it easier to unplug from an organic body.

Dummy Plug - The Dummy Plug is a common use for SC-Droids in military application. Like the Remote Node, the Dummy Plug has an organic brain inside it, but lacks the OMC (obviously) and it can be used as a copilot or autopilot for a larger craft or a replacement pilot for military hardware. Dummy Plugs are most commonly used in electronics warfare modes, where they control the electronics suits inside large mecha, aerospace fighters, or onboard a large ship. A mecha or fighter will have just the one, while a larger ship will have a cadre of these EW-droids working alongside the main computer on the ship. These mobile units can also be redirected to various locations to apply their full ability to the operation of a lesser system, such as putting the full computational power of a droid to the command and control of a gun turret, or defensive drone controller.

Budget Immortality - The lifespan of an Organic memory core is a long time, especially with regular maintenance and care. A person wishing to live on, but lacking the funds to have a genetically cloned body prepared and a brain transplant can opt for being converted to a SC Droid. These droids are super cheap, easy to maintain, and have a high degree of functionality, especially in the ability to disconnect from the flesh world and spend longer and longer amounts of time 'living' in the CogNet generated worlds.

Hard Labor - There are a few places around the world where criminals can be sentenced to hard labor as the brain of an industrial use droid. While very few detention centers are dumb enough to equip a criminal who has had their brain removed with a fully functional and capable robot body. The SC droid is a favorite choice because it has no arms, and limited mobility, and while it can be plugged into heavy machinery, it is easy to put safeguards in place against these less competent units. Some droids used in these less than humane nations are given the same conditioning and formatting treatment given to organic memory core brains. These half sentient cores create surprisingly effective menial cyborgs.

Author's Note: most people do not know that there is a difference between a mechanoid utilipod and a cyborg utilipod. In the Cosmic Era, most people wouldn't care if they did know.

'Arten' the Spokesbot of Stears-Cusick

Arten (R10) is a official mascot and spokesbot of the Stears-Cusick company. It is a simple looking, smooth bodied utilipod with a large amount of time put into making the sophisticated machine simple looking (like an iPhone) and celebrity like. There are no dark secrets lurking under the unibody shell, as Arten is nothing more than a remote controlled puppet that exists for selling the droids manufactured by Stears-Cusick.

The Droid Wars

There is a commercial war going on in the Cosmic Era. Mechanoids and Androids/Gynoids are in the process of battling out over which is going to be the dominant and go to type of machine, much like previous battles of technology. Mechanoids are more simple to build and maintain, and are able to very easily to shaped to their specific and intended tasks. The humanoid shaped robots are more expensive, and have more components that need maintenance and repairs, and often have the same problems and limitations as normal humans in performing certain tasks.

Public Reception and Entertainment

There are two factors that have skewed the balance of the commercial struggle in the favor of the humanoid machines, breasts and the media. The Hitome Unit, manufactured in the Republic of California and Nippon has proven that you can take a basic integration cybernetic cortex and slap it in a plastic body with a pretty human face, some plasticine breasts and a rubber vagina and it will outsell a machine that is not just cheaper, but much more effective. Sex sells and this has given the humanoid robots a major advantage over the mechanoids. These sexy robots have made far fewer inroads in industrial and manufacturing sectors, but in home purchase and commercial uses, the tin cans with tits have already won the battle.

The media has also done a massive amount of damage on the side of the humanoid bots. When droids are present in an action, drama, or thriller holovid it is easy to tell the good bots from the bad bots. Like cowboys being color coded (Black hat bad guy, white hat good guy) the humanoid robots are almost always good bots, while the inhuman mechanoid bots are the bad bots.

There is no more gratuitous demonstration of this than in the holovid series Isaac Manning, Droid Destroyer. in the series, Isaac Manning is an Adonis of a man, with bulging muscles, a lantern jaw, and the swagger of a 1950s hipcat combined with the violence fueled rage of Rambo. Manning spends the episode hunting down and destroying renegade droids (which happen to always be mechanoids) while seducing women and gynoids. He has also been used in some propaganda to stir up hostility towards Amerikka Command for their terrorist creed and use of combat androids. Because that makes them dishonest and liars, because good guys don't use good bots to fight their fights for them.

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D4Vr05 - The renegade Mechanoid.

DAVr05 (Dynamic Accolades - Version 05) is one of the most infamous of mechanoids and is largely considered the source of the idea of mechanoids being evil. The droid was a cyborg model that was made from a volunteer who wanted to escape the mortal life and pursue a digital life in the CogNet. Older and suffering from a variety of age and old injury related issues, he was accepted and was made into a Remote Node.

He was also, unknown to them, a major criminal and technically a genius. David Avros was wanted in several nations and on two planets for his work as a freelance mercenary and later weapons designer and smuggler. As a mechanoid he was able to escape detection and started more serious work as a terrorist mastermind. Operating under the aegis of DAVr05, he created a large number of CogNet viruses, hacked with near impunity, and became a fountain of hate, xenophobia, and puritanical rage.

He is unstable and a loose cannon, as often turning against those he helps, as causing mayhem and destruction for the sheer purpose of mayhem and destruction.

The Intent

The Stears-Cusick cyborg/mechanoid is a hybrid creation inspired by the Daleks and the astromechs from Star Wars. There was a discussion I started about the feasibility of the astromech in the Cosmic Era setting, and the response was generally in agreement: no. So I looked more towards the Dalek side of the equation. The utilipod droid is a general maintenance machine, like the astromech, and are fairly common but only inside arcologies, space stations, and so forth. The cyborg component brings in the standard brain in a jar technology.