Mother of Machines

Mother of Machines
Image from Dieter Ludmann

Self-emergent autowar clade, recently embarked on migration to the galactic core.

During the Version War the Mutual Progress Association unleashed replicating intelligent weaponry against the advancing Negentropic Alliance. The autonomous warships (usually called autowars) proved to be a powerful but unpredictable weapon, stopping the advance by forcing the Alliance to defend many home systems from the autowars. In the Dyniel Accords 4723 the MPA gave the Alliance the shutdown codes, and the autowars were deactivated whenever they ventured into an Alliance system.

However, a number of autowars of the Liberator D series had withdrawn to the uninhabited system Goto 34-394332, used by them as a refueling/replication base. The governing autowar systems knew about the spread of shutdown codes and decided to circumvent them by modifying the new autowar communication systems to immediately turn off whenever a shutdown code appeared, thus preventing the autowar from being shut down. In a surprise raid on Padre Joachim in 4798, 4 million people were killed by the Goto autowars as the shutdown codes failed. Over the next century the Goto autowars harassed the Alliance, causing heavy casualties in several important industrial systems and annihilating a number of worlds hosting large military bases, until it was discovered that battle coordination could be destroyed by spreading shutdown microtransponders immediately repeating the codes whenever inter-ship communications were attempted. In 5201 the Alliance attacked Goto, apparently destroying the last autowar factories.

Some systems survived, and over the next millennium the system was recolonised by autowar-descended systems. Still sensitive to the shutdown codes they kept to themselves, developing their own unique civilisation. Over the years it coalesced into a hivelike system governed by the Mother of Machines, the central factory-logistics complex encompassing a cluster of planetesimals in close stellar orbit. The Mother intelligence was discovered by a Institute of Military Archaeology expedition in 6565. Peaceful relations were initiated, and the Mother began to interact with biont and vec cultures. An attack using shutdown codes from Alliance radicalists in 8702 was defeated using hired Metasoft defense drones, but otherwise relations were peaceful.

In 7663 the Mother announced that it planned to migrate. It had become convinced the political developments of the current era are bound to lead to a major crisis, and wanted to escape. This "Mother Prophecy" has been widely debated, but it is clear that the Mother civilisation took it seriously. Using the largest drive systems in known space the Mother worldlets together with a flotilla of other colonised asteroids began the acceleration towards relativistic speed away from the galactic plane. Its exact destination is unknown but possibly extragalactic. There are persistent rumours of a secret wormhole link to the Goto system or some other hidden base still giving the Mother access to the Wormhole Nexus, but nothing has been proven.

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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg and M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 31 July 2000.