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Planned Obsolescence

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Obviously the cyborgs make great employees, what with the massive capital investment and then near immortality with lots of data processing power. The only problem is that organic systems (and non-organic systems, for that matter, once sentience occurs) have this tendency to develop personalities. It’s inconvenient, and messy, and worst of all it’s unpredictable. At first we here at the company thought that it was unpredictable as in only one in a thousand cyborgs develop the unfortunate habit. But the problem with immortal cyborgs is that even if you tuck them in the way back of beyond, they come round again.

Sticking them on other planets requires that you can get to other planets in the first place, and in the — okay, we can’t call it the early days, eh? Ha ha. Little joke. Back when we started running into problems with them, we only had one other planet we could really foist them on. We spaced a few, of course, but there again the problem is some random little rowboat of a spacecraft pulls one in (darn those lingering human impulses of proper burial. What could be better than drifting endlessly through the stars?) anyway, some little podunk town suddenly has a cyborg of their very own.

So the unpredictable cyborgs are a total pain in the tuckus to get rid of, and then we find out, hey, pretty much all the cyborgs will eventually do this personality thing and now you’ve got insurrections getting planned over thousands of years and, well, it’s just not good for business.

Fortunately most of them figured out a way to blip out. And they are all so beholden to Old Earth, even the ones that stick around seem to be doing just endless circuits of the same old, same old, until deciding to blip for good. It was actually a real providential happening, albeit the shareholders were pissed that month. Especially when we found out that time travel was pretty much kiboshed for good. I mean, it was still a thing, but recorded history on earth is one thing. Recorded history in the corporate rim? Changes all the time. There were just too many gaps in the record to take the risk. I mean, look at what happened with just the one data shadow on Earth.

And, well, this is off the record (ha ha yeah the whole thing is off the record), but we’re just a teensy tiny bit concerned that if we go fishing in time, we’re gonna pull up something we don’t want to see. Some of those immortal cyborgs are probably keeping an eye on things back on earth, which is fine. Whatevs. We wrote that place off once the major solar sys expansion opened up the markets. But —and this really is confidential, so don’t go breaking my trust, we know where you live — there’s a couple of those borgs we know got off planet. They certainly don’t mind a long commute, after all. But they can’t get around to everywhere, right? So we keep our hands off the timeline, at least so far as you or I know.

So yeah, there was that whole debacle, but it worked out in the end. We kept some things on the down low, kept our patents locked up tight (it helps when you own the governments, amirite?). Then space travel finally hit the big time, and we got a nice front-row seat — oh, not to the exploration. Leave that to others. But it doesn’t really matter what people have seen on brave new planets, it matters what they say about it when they get back.

Of course, what company is complete without its operatives? Only this time we weren’t going to mess it up with immortal liabilities waiting to happen. We made sure we got a kill switch put in on every model, and left out the self-repairing nanotech. Sure, we want them easy to repair, but why give them the option to do it on their own?

Oh, and this was a brain wave, I mean, it was brilliant. One of our guys, he said, “Maybe if they aren’t trying to act like humans, they’ll have an easier time remembering to be tools.”

And, hey, we already were going to give ‘em armor, right? So why not make them just like the rest of the equipment. It’s handy, I am the first to admit it, that sometimes you don’t want things clunking around in heavy armor. Definitely easier to ship these things en masse and to repair them if the armor comes off. But it’s worth setting up a repair cubicle to keep the things contained during repair. People get weird about damaged stuff, you know. They either want to chuck it entirely, or keep it and name it and pretend it’s not just some mass-produced inanimate object.
Anyway, it’s not like we need the eyes on surveillance, but a bit of extra processing space never hurt to have on board. And no worries about personalities, ‘cause, y’know, “bzzz—t”!