toCyberdyne Systems, later consolidating and merging with Boeing-Grumman Aerospace to form Cyberdyne-Grumman, is the primary military contractor for Cascadia, the socialist republic of the Pacific Northwest. Cyberdyne Systems is not just the prime contractor, it has also supplied it's own military assets to the defense of the Redwood Nation, driving off attempted invasions from the Republic of California and the Rocky Mountain Republic.
A Brief History
Cyberdyne systems was a major supplier of military hardware to the United States, mostly in the form of electronics, communication equipment, and later, advanced energy weaponry and coil guns. The corporation survived the Resource Wars through consolidating it's positions around their northern Californian production center, the Dyson Arcology. Cyberdyne was a key player in the Second Renaissance, and was heavily invested in robotics, AI development, energy weapons, and more sundry electronics, CogNet tech, and communications. Eventually, the corporation would relocate it's headquarters to the Skynet Habitat, in orbit. The Dyson Arcoplex remains it's industrial core, supplemented by new factories such as the Cheyenne Mountain factory, the San Francisco complex, the Nebraska proving ground, and Armstrong City on the Moon.
Cyberdyne's military construction started after the Resource Wars as the corporation was pushed to the position of defending itself from the remnants of the California military, insurgent factions such as the precursors of Amerikka Command, and from basic barbarism as civilization collapsed. The corporation rallied and served as a central focus, and anchored the southern border of what would become Cascadia. The corp initiated a close relationship with Boeing-Grumman, providing supplies and equipment to that corporation in exchange for air support. This laid the groundwork for the two corporations to work in concert with each other, rather than against each other. The Cascadian military designates drone armored vehicles with HK followed by it's production number.
The HK-1 is a light drone tank, with a very limited combat cortex. The drone is built in similar fashion to a tank. The lower body is a triple tread 'tricycle' design with moderate speed, but a high degree of mobility. The 'turret' of the drone is a humanoid torso with a matched set of gun arms, starting with 5.56mm automatic rifles, but quickly upgraded to M-13 mini-gatling guns. The HK-1 has a class 2 cortex, and had limited decision making ability. The HK-1 was not a decisive fighter, but it was useful running point on patrols, drawing enemy fire, and doing sentinel duty. The design is no longer in production, but it is commonly seen in civilian applications.
A stop-gap design, the Goliath is a large tank, tipping the scales at over 140 tons. It is tall, giving it a wide range of view, and wide, giving it a good field of fire. This makes it large, and a relatively easy target to hit. To counter this weakness, the Goliath has heavy armor, and impressive firepower. The fixed superstructure of the rolling fortress mounts two gun turrets on extended arms. The original version of the HK-100 has the tank drone armed with four 40mm autocannons in twin mounts. The drone had a dynamic power core, and was upgraded to a class four cortex and four plasma rifles. While there was a lower rate of fire, the energy weapons were more intimidating to human infantry, and were more effective for destroying power armor, and later damaging mecha. The Goliath would be phased out of production and use, as it proved to be inferior to mecha in terms of speed and mobility, and newer power armors and powered melee weapons, and the associated improved combat tactics.
The Goliath cortex and a few design elements would later appear in OmniCorp's ED-209 military walker, albeit in a much smaller package.
The SPG, or Self-Propelled Gun series was a cul-de-sac that grew out of the HK-1. The SPGs were drone tanks with traditional twin tread hulls, and a robot turret mounting a specific weapon. The SPGs run the same duties as the HK-1s did, but do so without mounting a cortex. Being pure drones, the SPGs are slaved to another computer controller. SPGs are modular in design, and carry a variety of weaponry, and while energy weapons are the most common, this is not exclusive. The Cascadian military makes heavy use of SPG drones, from being 'mules' to carry gear for power armor patrols, assault units with heavy weaponry, and even support units, carrying power generators, communications equipment, and light artillery support.
While Boeing-Grumman provided air support, this was aerospace fighters and later the flying warships, these lacked the tactical flexibility of VTOLs. Cyberdyne filled in this gap by building drone helocraft and VTOLs. These designs frequently changed, but retained a basic profile, a central fuselage with turbines mounted in pods on the sides of the craft. The aircraft drew on the dynamic design of flying insects, and as such resembled them. While the corporation designed and built many such aircraft for a wide variety of roles, only one truly stands out, the FK-18 'Hornet'.
The Hornet is well known for it's dagger like profile, forked tail, and large turbine pods. The drone was built in large numbers, and was well armed, agile, and well coordinated. While the Hornet itself isn't particularly rugged, it is dogged, and it's Class four cortex suits it well. The VTOL has six hardpoints for mounting missiles or bombs, and a ventral gun turret for ground attack. In the fights with California, the Hornet, the Goliath, and the skeletron formed the backbone of the Cascadian resistance.
Cyberdyne's bread and butter has been combat droids, skeletrons, since the Second Dark Age. These machines are relatively inexpensive to build, cheap to maintain, and are able to easily pick up and use gear and weapons designed for humans to use. With their superior strength, most skeletrons are capable of using power armor scaled weaponry, and weaponry designed for them specifically tends to be heavier than humans can use easily or comfortably.
The T-600 series was the ground breaker in the skeletron game, being a competent fighting machine, with a class three cortex, autonomous and guided modes, and being able to accept instructions from human handlers and remote computer access. The T-600 is emblematic of Cyberdyne-Grumman, and though it is no longer in production, it was manufactured in such numbers that it is still easy to find, and find parts for. The T-600 is no longer in military service to Cascadia, but it is still heavily used by security contractors, mercenaries, and remains in production in unlicensed factories in South Africa, Russia, and India.
Being the first revolutionary skeletron, the T-600 has been copied and modified many times. The most notorious infringement was the ED-208, fielded by Cynerdyne's long time rival OmniCorp. The OCP ED-208 made cosmetic changes to the T-600, replacing the face with a blast shield/visor combination, and reducing the size and power output of the core, better suiting it's role as a civilian peace keeper and wojek.
Greystone Industries of Luna manufactured a knock off of the T-600 which the corporation branded as the U-88 Centurion. Clad in mirror like reflective armor, the Centurion was designed as an armored, radiation proof version of the T-600 and had a superior cortex. Like many attempts at combat robots, the U-88 was plagued by it's increasingly high cost, and it's bulky armor and mirror like finish made them very obtrusive and the public was not accepting of the machines.
The ABC Corp (Automation. Bionics, and Cybernetics) reverse engineered the T-600 to produce their ABC-Warrior combat droid. The ABC warrior was designed to be intimidating, carry heavy weaponry, and replace infantry in the battles being waged across Africa, Russia, and other third world wars. The ABC Warrior was large, had heavy armor, but suffered from a class two cortex. They were tough, but they were dumb. Most of the ABC Warriors were destroyed in action, and eventually production ended. They remain in use, but mostly in the worst parts of the world, but do so with heavy modification. The gangs of New Nuyork have on occasion made break outs against the New Nuyork Armed Police (NNAP) spear headed by cobbled together ABC warriors. They are now considered retro-tech.
The T-800 is considered the pinnacle of what the Skeletron is and can be. The chassis is tough, and the machine has a class four cortex, allowing it to function in a human manner without clanking about like the T-600 was prone to. The series is notable for it's brusque speech patterns, disuse of combat mobility, and relentless determination in carrying out missions. These series was the high water mark for the cost of a mass produced skeletron, as their cortex and power cores were top of the line at the time of their construction. The T-800 is still in production around the world; in Cascadia, licensed to Nippon, California, the Rocky Mountain Republic, Australia, and illegally in India, China, South Africa, Mars, and at several clandestine orbital factories.
The T-900 was technically a superior machine to the T-800 series. The 900 had superior armor protection, a self sustaining power core, and the ability to equip powered melee weapons and energy weapons. These functioned by tapping into the machine's power core. It had a similar Class 4 cortex, but the persona profiles were sanitized, to create a more homogenous product, as compared to the often quirky natures that T-800s would develop if their cortices weren't defragged and rebooted regularly. The T-900 was a financial disaster, as the cost point of the machine placed it out of the range of the typical skeletron buyer. The machines were too expensive to order in large numbers, and despite the superior armor, were still vulnerable to anti-robot tactics and mecha scale weaponry.
Greystone Industries ended up buying out the T-900 program at significant discount, and remodeled the chassis to create the Greystone Centurion II skeletron. Intended to replace the failed U-88 and move Greystone into prominence as a Lunar contractor, the ultimate failure of the T-900 and the Centurion II proved more than the corp could handle, and it eventually went bankrupt and was disbanded.