The Auto-Detek came about during the reorganization of police forces that occurred with the introduction of wojeks and drone vehicles. The need for police boots on the ground decreased as the autons picked up beat and patrol work. This reduced the need for police vehicles as well, since the machines didn't require cruisers and a motorpool. Their feet were adequate to the task given. But there were limitations for the wojek. Their AI was limited to peacekeeping, and once a threat was dealt with, they were done. Wojeks don't ask questions, don't go looking for information, and tend to be a bit messy on the loose ends department.
The Prototype Auto-Detek
The first auto-deteks were modified wojeks. They were given different markings to denote their alternate function, and that function was the investigate crime scenes. The beat wojek only responded to the problem, and never sought out the causes. In the cases of questionable crimes, or violator-less crimes, the 'jeks would send alerts and move on.
Victimless crimes are well known, breaking a law that doesn't harm anyone is a victimless crime. The violator-less crime is the term for when a wojek or other robot comes into a crime scene and there is no one present other than the victim. A robot finding a dead body can only notify medical services, it isn't going to go CSI on the site.
The Auto-detek worked well enough, it was able to follow leads, ask questions, and interact with test subjects well enough that it could solve basic problems, and could request aid from wojeks or from law enforcement agencies. In the field, the auto-detek did much worse. It was still a wojek as far as everyone living in the sprawl and undercity were concerned. This lead to the auto-deteks being lied to, being ambushed and scrapped for parts, and in one tragic incident, an auto-detek was turned into a mobile mine that almost killed a number of people when it attempted to return to base. Instead it detonated in the robot service area, and there were only a handful of injuries.
Unsurprisingly, law enforcement agencies were disinterested in the auto-detek. Most of their work was handled through their anti-crime computer systems, and crime outside of the arcologies was largely outside of their interests. This left the people behind the Quizzical Cortex empty handed. They looked to put their design on the public market, stripped down to a bare bones droidette, but carrying the same high end cortex.
The 1st Gen
Also known as the disposable detective, the 1st gen auto-detek was a folding robot that was made and sold on the cheap to well of people and organizations that lived outside the gilded cages of the Arcologies. These robots asked questions and tracked down people and leads, but were for the most part non-threatening. Their light chassis meant they weren't fighters, and didn't have an internal power supply for energy weapons.
Bogart, the hero auto-detek, became something of a local celebrity when the droid was successful in a high profile missing persons issue. The droid found the daughter of an arco VIP, and returned her to it's owner, who then took her back to the arco to claim the reward. Things didn't go as planned as the police accused the man of being her kidnapper and killed him in a knee jerk shoot out. Bogart protected the VIPs daughter, and follow up debriefing proved that the gentleman had sent out a half dozen auto-deteks to find her. That he was something of a slumlord pimp and fixer was beside the point, he wanted the reward money to buy his way into the tower. Bogart ended up front an center in the news loop to keep the police from being smeared for an unnecessary gunfight.
Bogart itself had been selected to run in an aftermarket profile where it used a film noir lingo and a gravely voice. After that, the formerly laugh inducing profile quickly became the default setting. (little different from Robert Newton's 1950s portrayal of Long John Silver setting up the standard 'pirate accent' that would last for many decades after)
The Main Series
The Auto-detek quickly found a place in the rosters of private security contractors, bounty hunting agencies, and investigation firms. These machines were not always as good as an actual gumshoe, but in numbers they could cover more leads and angles, and unlike people they couldn't be bought or intimidated.
Rockford - a rough an tumble auto-detek, the Rockford series was designed to go into the roughest locales in pursuit of it's mission, and have a reasonable chance of getting back out. The droid can defend itself in hand to hand, and has the ability to use improvised melee weapons as required. Rockfords are popular for police and droid dramas for the build and decent cortex. They have basic armor, and are more durable.
Magnum - the Magnum is a smart auto-detek that has the ability to operate vehicles and other machinery intended for humans. It has a good cortex, and a better than average human interface system. Superficially similar to the Rockford, but lacks armor.
Marlowe - a higher level Auto-detek, Marlowe is designed to interface with humans better, and has a good ability to read human emotion and reaction. It doesn't have armor, but it does have the ability to use conventional firearms in defense of itself and others. This model is popular for 'droid in black' robot dramas.
Spade - the most poplar model, Spade has a solid cortex, a high durability chassis, and skills in hand to hand, interrogation, security, and can learn as it advances. There are several dramas involved Spades that are self employed and sentient, as well as robosexual dramas with women in love with Spades.
Holmes - one of the most sophistcated auto-deteks, Holmes has a very high end cortex along with high precision sensors, including internal lab and diagnostics, allowing the machine to make on the spot analyses of materials found at a crime scene. This allows the machine to quickly and efficiently map out a scene and generate leads. This model is quite expensive.
Clouseau - a Clouseau is any auto-detek or even wojek that has been hacked and rendered inept, typically in remote locations so that the owners don't come check on their machines. This has allowed organized crime syndicates to blind police robots and carry on their illicit trades literally in front of them.
Gadget - the product of a clocksmith, a Gadget is an auto-detek that has been heavily modified, including having it's cortex moved into a new body, or it's abilities heavily modified with new limbs, implanted weaponry, and other modifications.
The Shadow-bot - a group of PCs starts being shadowed by an auto-detek. It doesn't approach them, but it is obvious that the machine is stalking them, questioning the people they interact with, and generally being their shadow. A typical group of shadowrunning PCs are going to have a laundry list of crimes they've committed, so it becomes a paranoia play, who is it following, what past action is it snooping them over? Who sent it, and what do they want?
The Agency - a P.I. Agency has started up and outside of administrative staff, their entire force is comprised of auto-deteks and second hand wojeks. They can back up PCs, be a rival to them, or be an agency in pursuit of said PCs, but unlike above, they know very much why they are being pursued.
The Partner - a lone PC is paired up with a high end auto-detek to work as their partner, since their previous partners keep getting killed, devoured by cultists, driven mad, turn to the dark side, etc. hijinks ensue.
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? Responses (1)-1
I really like this one. It can work well in its intended role, and there's also room for adaptation to superhero games, fantasy games, and other genres. The variety in models is nice, and one can imagine plenty of plot hooks that might come up (in addition to the listed ones, I like the idea of an auto-detek being programmed to deliberately hunt down the wrong person - a sort of advanced frame job).