of Cogland

Life in the West continued as it had for decades. People lived, and people died, underneath a pitiless blue sky that went on forever, in an equally pitiless land that had as many dangers as it had opportunities. Not even the arrival of aliens could change that. Nor would they; the novelty of the West appealed to them and brought them in droves to integrate, as best they could, just as any other cultural minority. The first aliens have come and gone, already bored of life in the west, but every day brings in new settlers, some more than eager to make their stay a permanent one.

As with any new ideas brought to the West, alien technology was quickly taken up by the most innovative. It could never fully replace the convenience of a living, breathing horse, nor the comfort of a heavy gun, but where bandits only had to deal with human sentries before, now they faced mechanisms programmed to shoot anyone unable to present passkeys within ten seconds. Or else there were pure white lights, shining along the walls to make sneaky entrances impossible. Outlaws and law-bringers alike took up vests that could deflect bullets, and spectacles that could see in the dark. Few humans could operate alien weaponry - most of it was designed with species that had special limbs in mind, or else was simply too large and cumbersome.

The most valuable piece of technology, though, was the robot. Man has attempted to make their own, always falling just short of something which could function on its own, and never dreaming to accomplish artificial intelligence. The aliens brought with them their mechanical animals, their little gadgets which could clean any mess, and even their battle droids. Few, if any, knew how these things worked, and could only perform the most basic maintenance. Attempts to take the machines apart to see how they work all ended in disaster because nothing could be replaced once ruined.

It was not until the Nef Asir began to appear in the west that robots began to become more common. The first prototype to imitate man in the West, and to assist him in cattle drives, was a simple, clunky model called Ix65. It could react to the sound of cattle lowing and either circle the beast back to its herd or lasso and hogtie it to be retrieved by its owners. The prototype was expanded on rapidly, for the blueprints were readily available.

Soon enough, robots could be found mingling with the general populace. They were an every day sight, able to perform every function that a man could, and many that men could not. Humans and robots both treated them as little more than tools to be used, however, for their basic programming restricted their freedom. The greatly modified Declaration of Independence did not include mention of mechanical men, though it had been edited to allow for the numerous alien species populating America.

After all, what need is there to grant one’s gun liberty?