Work in Progress
This article is a work in progress.
- "The dawn of a golden, golden plated even, age is upon us, gentleman; all we need do is make one great breakthrough, and mankind's future is secure."
- ―Dr. Adrian Heller
Founded in 2033 by the enterprising Don Furman, a British businessman with a distinct love of robotics, Furman Robotics & Engineering started off originally as a fairly small and financially tremulous start-up, with sales mostly consisting of the odd spreadsheet-generating program and inter-office mailing programs, with the only physical products the company managed to create in its early, independent days being the odd streamlined Terminal design. Even its initial forays into the robotics market were rather limited, a great disappointment to the entrepeneurial Furman, with little success. The ideas on offer, however, were attractive to investors who wanted substantial control over the companies plans; RobCo and General Atomics business-scouts sought the company and its director out and, with some shrewd negotiators on both sides, arranged for the company to become a subcontractor for RobCo and General Atomics in separate business arrangements, both relating more to the programming than actual construction of the appliances, around the mid-to-late 2040s. Nevertheless, the company grew quite considerably in the late 2040s to early 2050s, safe from corporate competition by working with its corporate competition, serving as a sort of snickering lackey to RobCo and General Atomics, to the dismay of Furman. Though the company was doing well financially and had become something of a rising star amid the variety of subcontractors vying for RobCo and General Atomics contracts, Furman still had an eye to breaking in to and taking over the robotics market. Working hard to develop a warm relationship with the two companies, Furman also gave his tacit support to low-level employees working on joint-projects who borrowed, as such thefts were slyly called, hardware and software that the companies utilized. The company's first research into the creation of its own robotics was in the early 2050s, with the start of lucrative Department of Defense contracts following the start of the bitter Resource Wars and the European Commonwealth - Middle East War between the European Commonwealth and the Middle East prompted by the last desperate grasps at the world's rapidly depleting resources, and subsequent flurry of requests for new and deadlier designs of combat robots, among other things. The bulk of this work was relegated to RobCo and General Atomic's own teams engineers and scientists, though some of the more interesting contracts were given to Furman Robotics when the workload and demand proved too great. In 2053, Don Furman met with his soon-to-be-confidant and business partner Simon Figueroa, then an up-and-coming RobCo scientist who felt his talents were being wasted on trivial and trifling civilian-market-oriented projects; the two found themselves with an equally profound and shared love of robotics and, naturally, found themselves quickly sharing designs, thoughts and - most importantly of all - trade secrets, though this was largely a one-sided affair.
As 2054 rolled onto the company's plate, the rosy partnerships it held with RobCo and General Atomics had seen the company's fortunes rise substantially and its relations with the two companies flower into a very warm partnership indeed - despite the ongoing industrial espionage that Furman Robotics found itself engaging in when it came to the two larger companies. It was also in 2054 that the first official production plant, owned solely by Furman Robotics, was opened; situated in the secluded town of Lentonville, a town more famous for its automobile manufacturing industry than its scientific geniuses. The development of the laboratory raised a few eyebrows in the robotics corporation, naturally, but was largely ignored by the company's partners; which was just as well for Furman Robotics, for the decision to create a facility in such a relatively obscure town was a conscious one. It was here that the various pieces of stolen research could be compiled and recycled into more workable, 'original' designs that the company could effectively patent without both incurring a lawsuit and significant blowback, not to mention souring of relations and contract losses, from their business partners. Work began almost as soon as the first scientists, engineers and various other employees arrived at the facility; components retrieved from the likes of RobCo's Protectrons or General Atomics' Mister Handy robots were put under microscopes, minute details catalogued and compared between makes and models to determine effectiveness, durability and, most importantly, cost. The company director's obsession with perfection naturally made progress slow and time-consuming, yet by 2057, the first successes had come about; the first skeletal frames, delicate though they were, had been succesfully for their own brand of robots, as of yet unannounced. Sadly, research all but ground to a halt from mid 2057; the demands of RobCo and General Atomics regarding upgrades to the personalities of their own robotic masterpieces; Protectrons with a debonair, trans-atlantic accent ideal for serving malt whiskeys in the finest highrise lounges, Mister Gutsy models with the calming tones of a medical orderly ideal for treating the injured and Eyebots programmed to play merry jingles advertising everything from Nuka Cola to Abraxo Cleaner. Grating though this must have been to the dedicated research teams at Lentonville, no doubt labouring under the impression that their time was being wasted with such trivial matters, the contractual obligations of the company came first; their robot research would be placed on the backburner for a time whilst demand for smarter and more refined robots boomed. All the while, international tension simmered to a boiling point as tensions between the United States and the increasingly hostile communist China, with the sabre rattling between the two remaining superpowers only serving to heighten tensions both at home and abroad in both nations.
Whilst their work for their major trading partners continued, succesfully breeding a series of Mr. Handy and Protectron models with moderately popular artificial personalities with an equally moderate level of sales and success in rather high-class establishments, Furman Robotics began to branch out in terms of contacts with the most effort being made to establish connections with those in the Department of Defense. As it turned out, the raging conflicts across the globe over the remaining resources of the world had been noted with increasing concern by the Department's officials and, as such, said officials were quite keen to hear contract proposals that were not only sensible, but also cheap. Believing they could take advantage of this relatively succesful but fairly small robotics company, the DoD probed them for contracts; surprisingly, Furman Robotics' proposals and offers impressed them enough for them to publicly offer them a contract. Sadly, RobCo & General Atomics made sure to shoot down this public offer fairly quickly, unwilling to give the smaller company an inch into the burgeoning defense industry; fortunately for Furman, the DoD approached them later with a private offer; Lentonville's facility would, as the DoD specified, be given hefty funding to improve research time and indeed production towards the development of new robotic models and, as Don Furman dreamed, artificial intelligence on the conditions that the military be able to specify schedules and dictate terms of the contract as it passed and that any and all prior research successes made be handed over to government research labs and think tanks. Don Furman happily agreed, to the chagrin of Figueroa, and what was hoped to be a fruitful partnership was born. 2058, then, could be seen as the pinnacle of all the company's successes; for the first time, actual, physical prototypes were on display and being tested within the confines of the labs, with the burgeoning budget provided to the company cutting research time and seeing the first production prototypes. What money could not buy, industrial and corporate espionage provided; to make the truly bipedal robot that Furman desired, spies were quick to slowly but surely slip away with trade secrets relating to the RobCo Protectron and far more advanced, not to mention deadly, Assaultron. As the 2050s came to a close, Furman Robotics & Engineering proudly rolled out the first prototypes for clandestine testing at government facilities; bipedal, fully armed robots, easily programmed, with aims towards making them a market competitor against any offerings from RobCo and General Atomics. These robots, whilst lacking the firepower of the hulking Sentry Bots and the agility of the deadly Assaultrons, had an impressive durability to them coupled with the firepower of the average Protectron model, albeit with a slightly more streamlined frame. The DoD was impressed enough, but both Furman and Figueroa were unimpressed by their own creations; what they wanted was something more. Artificial intelligence, or as close as one could get to such in the limited confines of this robot model, was what they truly wanted. Seen as the only AIs at that time were limited to taking up entire rooms, owing to the huge processing demands of such machines, a more convenient and ultimately more realistic work around was quickly established; the creation of an automated personality in one such robot. However, the cost analysis foiled early proposals made to DoD, which at that time was more than satisfied with the prototypes they had been offered and saw no need for them to have any intelligence beyond that of pre-existing military models.
- Assault Drone Mk. I: A dull, blueish-grey exterior paintjob and heavy armour plating punctuated this first outing of the Assault Drone, which saw service mostly at company buildings of importance; namely, the Lentonville facility, where models of this type can still be found active and patrolling since the Great War, dutifully shooting at any and all intruders. Usually, these models are found using the standard AEP7 Laser Pistol.
- Assault Drone Mk. II: The mark II variant of the Assault Drone is a truly formidable opponent that, whilst fairly limited in number at the time of the Great War, with the odd active unit found patrolling the ruins of high-security military and government buildings in post-war America, this design nevertheless saw service with special forces units operating in China and other theatres of conflict in the Sino-American War. Capable of utilizing standard laser weaponry, weapons like the AER9 Laser Rifle, this model was mostly reserved for assault operations in conjunction with models like the Assaultron and Sentry Bot models.
- Assault Drone Mk. III: The most dangerous and formidable model of the Assault Drone, the mark III is a hulking variant of the standard model easily distinguished from the others thanks to its much heavier armour on its torso and its standard armament; namely, the CZ53 Personal Minigun. Slower than the other models but easily the most durable, these are largely centred around the research labs and foundries where they were actually constructed; very few ever saw active service, with only a handful deployed overseas on much the same assignments that their mark II counterparts were also given.
- Don Furman: Chief Executive Officer
- Simon Figueroa: Chief Researcher of Robotics & Computer Sciences
Holotapes of Note
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