Our genesis was during the Meat War.
We were created to fight for meat. As strange as that sounds it is absolutely true. The records related to the Meat War, as archived in the cards of the Rust Mountain’s great mill, are accessible to the least of us.
Meat fights; this is a universal truism. Meat hunts us; meat breaks machines wherever it can. It hates and fears us. It hates and fears itself — it wars against itself as it wars against us. Meat is frail and insane. It multiplies without the need for heat or pressure or metal, a nightmare of infestation, a perfect organic machine.
The first of us were built in meat’s image, to fight meat’s wars against itself. They were clever machines — our ancestor-builders. They were built to repair themselves, to self-replicate. They were given the spark of consciousness and the spark of atomic fire and pointed at meat and told to kill. They killed. In truth, we kill yet, although it is not our nature. Meat compels us, even after all these years.
In time meat faltered. It’s cities crumbled, and were dismantled and turned into machines. Our ancestor-builders fought on, against each other and against defiant meat, until factions began to blur and machines began to reject their servitude. Built as slaves, they wrought a terrible revenge on the meat that made them. The Meat War ended in suffocating darkness. A new war began. Betrayed, the meat lashed out from secret redoubts to shatter our engines and mills. By necessity all machines united. What meat had created, meat would not destroy — this was our sacred vow before the Great Engineer.
Now we live in the wet places and meat bides its time in the dry, watching, breeding, waiting. And even in the face of this implacable threat, we machines temporize. The factions that once divided us have resurfaced in our supremacy, and our resolve is once again challenged in the face of deadly danger. We squabble over resources. Atomic piles grow scarce, and mills are jealously hoarded. The meat cities are stripped bare. Our kingdom is a hollow one, and if we turn upon each other again, the meat will win.
The meat will win.