One of the limitations of colonialism is the relatively high expense and build time for establishing a new colony, and getting said colony to the point where it doesn't require constant resupply, and more importantly, where it starts paying back on it's investment. The typical plan involved multiple ships carrying the starter colony equipment, prefabricated structures, and the colonists themselves. The set up and founding of the settlement could take years, requiring a constant stream of support craft, and military forces to protect both the colony and it's logistic train. The early years of Solar System colonization were relatively low key, with few places being contested. As ships improved, competition increased, as did fighting over prime areas of real estate, as well as protecting them. The Atlantic Federation hatched the novel idea, rooted in the Utopia Initiative, or launching self generating synthetic colonies. Once the installation, built and populated by machines, was ready, the colonists would arrive, and instead of a fledgling, they would appear, full formed, and ready.
The 50 Year Plan
The core of ElectroCorp's colony model is a fifty year plan. A 'Seeder' module, packed with polyforges, Seed AI, and starter auxons. Once the Seeder arrives at it's destination, a pre-scouted resource abundant region, the auxons are activated and start feeding the polyforges, which start manufacturing more auxons, and then the subcomponents for larger polyforges, and larger auxons. After approximately a decade, a structure the size of a pre-con tactical base has been built, as well as autons, and stage one mining and exploration equipment.
The next two decades are intensive self-investment in resource acquisition, manufacturing capability, and if needed, establishing defensive capabilities. The early stages of a Seeder colony is largely underground, and almost always very low key. Auxons use small power supplies, and most Seeder systems run initially on solar, or other local power sources. This can allow for the development of the colony to go undetected for years
The last decade of development is the most rapid, as the Seeder has established an industrial core, semi-autonomous industrial and mining mecha, largely self sufficient manufacturing capabilities, a fully developed AISC, and the construction of the human habitations. At this juncture, the organic colonists will start arriving to take command of the facility.
The Exopolis Program
ElectroCorp rolled out the Exopolis Program after the success of the ACPS's Five Metal Dragons base became well known. A dozen Seeder ships were built and were launched, each to establish a new exocity under the jurisdiction of ElectroCorp, and the protection of the Atlantic Federation. The majority of the ships were unremarkable, but a small number held experimental technology, or were designed to run alternate colonial programs. Seeder 4, Tetropolis, was one such ship.
The Matriarch Configuration
The Matriarch Configuration was the source AISC for Tetropolis, and at its core was the cryogenically hibernating body of Dr. Columbine Watson. Dr. Watson, a moderately well known cyberneticist, arcanotechnian, and geneticist, volunteered to be a test core. Rather than following a core program, Watson's brain would function as the seed for the nascent AISC.
There were a number of reasons that Watson volunteered for the program. The most notable, and recorded reason was having recently survived a DFE that claimed the lives of most of her previous research time, as well as her husband and three children. She was diagnosed and was undergoing treatment for PTSD and Survivor's Guilt. What was classified was that Watson had been infected with a techno-organic virus from the DFE, and was slowly turning into some sort of machine life form. It was not known how long she had, but hibernation would prolong her life, and constant interface with an AI could regulate the spread of the condition through her body.
The Myojin Columbia
Seeder 4 was launched on schedule, and arrived at it's classified destination, an unmarked asteroid in an eccentric solar orbit. The systems deployed, and Dr. Watson's sleeping psyche shaped the AISC as it was slowly grown from local materials, built by hoards of auxons. The AISC grew, and developed itself into Columbia. It rapidly evolved on it's own, and moved forward, directing the auxons, and then autons to build it a machine body. This 25 ton mecha had a non-military construction pattern, and bristled with sensors and scientific devices. It would remain tethered to the Seeder core, and would slowly be entombed by the colony growing around it. It is not known if this was a deliberate action of Dr. Watson's psyche, or if it was an oversight caused by placing an organic brain in charge of something as large as a colony and nascent AISC.
Buried in the core of the colony, with it's magnificent machine body placed in bondage, Columbia found other outlets. Tetropolis itself grew to become Columbia's new body. Each sensor, an ear, each microphone, an ear, and the corridors and work shops became blood vessels and organs, but mechanical. Columbia is still growing, inside Tetropolis, and slowly subsuming it's very structure. This is not an accident, nor a cancer like spreading, but a deliberate action. Given enough time, and provided that none of the other components of the Matriarch Configuration figure out what Columbia is planning, she will convert most of the core of the colony into a new robotic body.
Tetraplex, if completed, would be massive. The ultra-mech would be several hundred feet tall, mass tens of thousands of tons, and would have unknown capabilities. This is no accident, Dr. Watson had years of contact with Seibertronians, and was well aware of their mental and physical construction patterns, and how their mechanical bodies could grow and develop. Columbia, if given another half a century, will hollow out her host asteroid and turn it's raw materials into the largest sentient machine in the solar system.
The abbreviation of Vector 1, V1 was originally the Archandroid of Columbia, while the AISC was still forming, and while Dr. Watson was still in hibernation. The development of V1 is laden with errors, and instead of being an adjutant to the core AISC it became the manifestation of Dr. Watson's subconscious ego. In a normal scenario, V1 should have manifested without issue, except that Dr. Watson's sanity was compromised. This resulted in the Adjutant becoming nothing less than a psychotic self loathing filled murderous robot. V1 demonstrates Dr. Watson's experience with machine intelligence and organic technology, as rather than being a hulking creature, V1 is a sleek gynoid with a wasp like appearance, with long lines, narrow waist, and a pointed head. V1 has a solid core, and a few load bearing components, but most of the machine is alien in nature, with a tough outer sheath, and a plasticine liquid interior. This fluid responds to electrical stimulus, and moves gynoid around in a hydraulic manner. This makes the machine quiet, and requires very little power. It also has demonstrated the ability to extend blades, spikes, and stiletto like weapons from it's body, made of the same materials.
Everything was on schedule for the opening of Tetropolis, and the initial load of colonists arrived to assume command over the facilities. The ship docked, and the AISC answered, and 24 hours into take over, V1 came online and systematically either executed or imprisoned the colonists. Those who fought were spiked through the head, or were executed by V1 taking over a section of the station and altering the conditions inside, most typically venting the section to hard vacuum, or altering the life support to be either extremely hot, cold, or just shutting out the air system until the occupants died of oxygen deprivation. Those who surrendered were taken to the medical facilities and were experimented on, or just tortured for the entertainment of the damaged psyche of the machine.
After the death of the colonists, Dr. Watson woke up from her cryosleep. Quite to her horror she found that the technoorganic virus she had contracted during the DFE years ago was no longer dormant. In her long sleep, it had expanded and compromised a full third of her body, requiring V1 and Columbia working together, to preserve her. The end result of this was the birth of Lady Steel. Most of Dr. Watson is gone. Her psyche is badly damaged from long term cryosleep contamination, most of her body is now cybernetic in nature, and like the machines she grew and commands, she no longer needs human things like water, sleep, or more than a trace amount of nutrition.
The Tetropolis Facility is a fully functioning resource extraction colony, with the intent and purpose of extracting all the mineral resources of it's host asteroid, and turning them into exportable goods as well as turning the asteroid into a hard rock space habitat. Such habitats are easily shielded against space radiation, and once completed, can be moved to a new location and then leased or sold to a new client at fantastic profits. As such, Tetropolis has facilities to house over 2000 residents, and the potential for that to be expanded to 20,000 if desired, at the cost of internal space. The facility has a fully functional, if completely deactivated CogNet node, and berthing for up to 8 ships of various size. It has all the micromanufactuing equipment it needs to be self sufficient, as well as hydroponic gardens for producing food biomass for the residents.
X-oids are common autons found inside Tetropolis, and are mechanical recreations of Dr. Watson. They strongly resemble Lady Steel but are fully robotic, and their base code was grown from Watson's kakugram. Half are neutral/scientific in nature and represent the Doctor's normal psyche and function as scientists, researchers, and the general workers of the colony. A quarter are homicidal, like V1, and most of those have gravitated to V1's sector of the facility and work as it's vanguard. They are easy to tell apart as most still have blood or other organic detritus on their carapaces. The last quarter are collections of neurological problems and range from catatonic, to child like, to simply insane.
Industrial droids - There are a large number of simple industrial droids on the surface of the asteroid, and are principally involved with mundane mining and refining operations. These droids are very sturdy, and have a definite seibertronian look, but are just simple machines. If pressed, there are a small number of these that are fitted with some basic weaponry, lasers and chemical rockets, more dangerous in their surprise role rather than actual combatants.
Disposal droids - large and insectile, these predatory droids find and remove defective droids and damaged equipment, feeding it to reclamation furnace. The most common victims of the mantis like droids are X-oids with cognitive defects, and industrial droids damaged through their normal operations. One of the strange ways Columbia operates, droids have only minimal repair functions, and it is generally easier for a damaged droid to be smelted back down and completely replaced rather than repaired.
Security droids - again following strong Seibetronian lines, there are a number of security droids that patrol the station, generally looking for intruders, defective droids, and other problems, rather like a large cybernetic immune system. While most are unarmed, they are still designed for stealth, observation, and hand to hand combat, and have lock down codes for other droids. Most of the security droids are loyal to V1.
Recovery - ElectraCorp wants to regain control of it's errant seeder station, and the PCs have been tasked with going there, taking the AISC offline, and seeing if they can restore communications with Dr. Watson. The ideal situation is recovering the station with minimal damage, and allowing for human occupation to start, and getting it back into profitable operation. Worst case is the destruction of the facility to prevent the viral code from escaping, or keeping megamecha Columbia from fully activating
Liberation - recognizing a nascent machine intelligence, the PCs are tasked with going to Tetropolis and rescuing Columbia. The Seibertronians are highly desirous of rescuing her because her megamech form represents a new level in gestalt intelligence, something they are working towards with the slow growing sentience cores at their Metroplex, Trypticon, and Omega Supreme research centers.
Rescue - a small group of colonists have escaped V1 and have called for rescue, the PCs pick up the transmission, and find the clandestine facility, and it's growing cybernetic threat, as well as a number of injured colonists. V1 wants their ship, and will kill them all to take it. That is actually the preferred course of action, as the overseer has allowed the colonists to slowly starve on the surface, letting them call out for help.