Silent Vecs, The

Apparently sophont robots found in the YTS-4376437-4376 system

Silent Vecs
Image from Steve Bowers
Two Silent Vecs interacting with an Immortal on their homeworld

The isolated sophonts known as the Silent Ones have a number of sophisticated technologies, despite having limited dexterity and a hide-bound, conservative culture. Most of their manufacturing, farming and construction industries are completely automated, although some Mortals engage in a form of hunter-gathering for food near the edges of artificial ponds.

Many different types of specialised, subsentient robots carry out the tasks required to maintain the civilisation of the Silent Ones in its unchanging state; some resemble small clouds of Utility Fog, although these units always contain a solid, mobile processing core into which the fog will withdraw when not in use. Most robots have the same two-legged body plan as the Silent Ones themselves, often with extra limbs stacked upon the body orthogonally.

All communication between the Silent Ones and their servitor robots is carried out by radio messages using quantum encryption, and therefore the content of these messages cannot be discerned without their knowledge. For reasons of discretion the Terragen envoys charged with investigating this world have refrained from intercepting the information traffic between the Silent Robots and their masters.

However a sophisticated program of behavioural observation, coupled with non-intrusive passive electromagnetic scanning, has allowed the Terragen observers to determine that a particular subset of the robotic inhabitants of this system are at least sentient, and very likely sophont. This population has a particular, consistent form, and are known informally as the Silent Vecs.

Silent Vecs are similar in size to the Immortals who live in this system, and slightly larger than the Mortal population. They have two stout legs supporting two independently rotating upper bodies, each of which has a pair of strong, opposable arms and a number of much thinner, branching tentacles. Like the Silent Ones themselves, these vecs have a wide, low stance while standing still, often resting their bodies on the ground for greater stability; when walking, their legs retract until they are closer together, allowing a gait that seems almost human at times.

The Silent Vecs are often found communicating with, and apparently directing, the hordes of lesser robots on these worlds, using encrypted microwave signals. They also mix freely among the Immortals in their glass palaces, and may be found creating artworks and participating in the ancient 'rituals' beloved of mainstream Silent culture.

Crumholzt Sinclar5, of the Terragen investigative team, has suggested that the Silent Vecs are most likely an uploaded form of Immortal, implanted into a capable and self-maintaining body; they certainly display the same range of behaviours as the biont inhabitants of this planet. However there is no evidence that uploading technology exists in the YTS-4376437-4376 system in the current era.

A separate team of investigators surveying the nearby star YTS-43764564-981 have discovered the remains of a Silent Vec, buried in a mudslide on an abandoned former Silent One colony world. According to stratigraphy this vec was buried 2.7 million standard years ago, and is substantially identical to the examples found in the home system. If uploading technology does not currently exist in this system, it may have existed many millions of years ago and is now lost, or perhaps it is simply no longer used.

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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 08 February 2017.