FoE: Do Robot Ponies Dream of Electronic Bunnies
Domo Arigato, Mister Roboto.
When you stop and think about it, androids are within our range of technology. Artificial life forms. Completely autonomous machines, thinking for themselves, acting for themselves, with little or no interaction on our part. The things they could do, the places they could go, the sights they could see would all benefit pony kind.
Sharper hearing than a Diamond Dog, keener eyes than a Gryphon, as agile as a Zebra, and the tenaciousness of a Dragon all bundled up into something as small as a pony. The applications are limitless. They could perform surgery that no doctor would even dare for fear of doing further damage. Excavation would no longer be the sole domain of the Diamond Dog or the Sand Dog. Space, once just out of our reach, could be achieved with a minimum expenditure of fuel; the android would simply need a small booster module. And our national security would be even tighter. The army could win a battle without a single drop of blood lost.
I tell you, good ponies, this is a field that needs, nay, DESERVES to be explored! With your funding and our knowhow, we could change the way Equestria does everything!
- Pamphlet regarding New Technologies.
In the Twilight years of Equestria, life was good. Ponies were at the height of technology and culture. Ponies everywhere wore a Pipbuck, from the fashionable to the posh. Every home had at least a wireless uplink to a main communication system. The ponies thrived, and passed on their good fortune to almost every race on the planet.
Then the Zebras struck.
It started with a simple embargo. A hostage crisis followed, then a daring rescue. Tensions continued to mount, culminating with an attempted assassination of Princess Celestia at Shattered Hoof. From that day forward, it was no longer considered a skirmish. It was war.
In a war, the idea is to have a better weapon than your opponent. If you’ve got the bigger gun, you can back him down. The problem with Zebras is they don’t scare easily. No matter how big the guns got, the Cesar sent more troops to plug the barrel. So, ponies decided to try a new tactic.
They already used bots for menial jobs; construction and daycare were the most fielded robotic units. So it was almost painfully obvious that they could be used on the front line. The first attempts were too clunky. They couldn’t go over rough terrain, they could barely target, and with some weapons, when they fired they were overbalanced and fell. The Minstry of Wartime Technologies decided to ask for help from the other ministries, taking assistance mainly from the Ministry of Arcane Science. Together they designed, built and tested a fieldable robotic warrior.
For a time, the new bot did well. But their range was too limited, and often they couldn’t capitalize on a victory fast enough for it to matter. So they brought in the Ministry of Awesome. From that corner came better parts, more advanced programming, and newer designs. The results were very good, but the Ministry Mares weren’t completely happy. Not only that, the cost of these robots was getting to be impractical. Some even cost lives, taking the brain of a living pony and inserting it into a metal machine. Princess Luna, having taken over for her sister after the assassination attempt, decided to end the soldier bot programs. With reluctance, the bots came off the front lines. The MoWT’s Ministry Mare ended nearly every project they had concerning autonomous combatants in Military settings, save for one.
This one final project was to be a combined effort from all six ministries; Wartime Tech, Awesome, Arcane Science, Image, Morale, and Peace. Each ministry contributed to the programming, each lent a hoof to construction cost, and each had a say in design. But none had a voice in purpose louder than MoWT. Applejack had a specific reason for this last bot, though none of her friends knew it. Maybe Twilight could have guessed, but in the end it didn’t matter. The Zebras used the ultimate card. Balefire bombs struck key locations. Cloudsdale disappeared, sending the Pegasi into mass mourning and closing up the sky. Everywhere else, ponies ran for the shelter of Stable-Tec’s safety. Some made it, others didn’t get close.
Now its two hundred years later, children. Two Hundred Years. The bots that are running around now are all crazy. They can’t be reasoned with, bought, bribed or begged. They only exist for one reason: Kill Ponies. They’re all carrying out their last orders. Most are just continuing security where they were stationed.
Who’s to blame, children? Applejack? The Zebras? Luna? Who do we point the hoof at and say “These insane robots are your fault?” The answer, children, is no one. No one is at fault here. So we all just go on killing robots when we must, reprogramming them when we can, avoiding them when we can’t do either. We ignore them, they ignore us.
But for one robot, that doesn’t hold true. There’s one bot out there who doesn’t want to do any of that. One robot who wants to make a difference for the Equestrian Wasteland.
This, children, is his story.